Thursday, 25th November 2021


This event has already passed and registrations are closed.


On Thursday 25 November, the MFSA, in liaison with the Institute of Directors, will be organising a Corporate Governance Webinar "Raising Corporate Governance standards in the financial services sector". Keynote speeches will be delivered by the MFSA’s Chief Officer Supervision and the former Global Chair of the Institute of Directors. An update on recent MFSA initiatives on corporate governance will be provided. Two panel discussions, highlighting the role of the board of directors and how governance can be enhanced through sustainability will follow.



0900hrs Opening Statement

Clare Farrugia - Head, Strategy, Policy, and Innovation, MFSA

0910hrs Keynote Speech – Corporate Governance: Its Criticality for the Financial Services Sector

Dr Christopher P. Buttigieg - Chief Officer Supervision, MFSA

0925hrs Keynote Speech

Charlotte Valeur - Former Global Chair, Institute of Directors

0940hrs Recent MFSA initiatives on Corporate Governance 

Gerd Sapiano - Senior Manager, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA
Sara Sassone - Analyst, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

1000hrs Break
1010hrs The Role of the Board of Directors - Competence, Effectiveness and Forward-Looking


Why do Mediterranean Islands need Corporate Governance? The Cypriot Experience
Evdokimos Xenophontos - Chairman, Institute of Directors (Cyprus)

Panel Discussion:
Edwin Ward - Chairman, Institute of Directors Malta Branch (Moderator)
Dr Catherine Formosa - Senior Associate, Ganado Advocates
Dr Laragh Cassar - Partner, Camilleri Cassar Advocates
Alexia Farrugia - Managing Director, Actaco Financial
Romina Farrugia - Deputy Head, Insurance and Pensions Supervision, MFSA

1055hrs Panel Discussion – ESG - Enhancing Sustainability through Governance

Vanessa Macdonald - Head, Communications, MFSA (Moderator)
Dr Roberta Lepre - Member of the Advisor Board, Institute of Directors
Kenneth Farrugia - Chief Business Development Officer, Bank of Valletta
Ryan Borg - Deputy Counsel, EU and International Affairs, MFSA
Steve Ellul - Financial Consultant

1125hrs Closing Remarks

Dr Michael Xuereb - Chief Officer Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

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The Authority encourages interested participants to register by not later than Tuesday 23 November 2021. Following successful registration to this webinar, participants will receive an email on Wednesday 24 November 2021 with a link to join the webinar.


Chief Officer Supervision, MFSA

Christopher Buttigieg

Dr Christopher P. Buttigieg was appointed as Chief Officer Supervision in March 2020 following his appointment as Chief Officer Strategy, Policy and Innovation in 2019. During his tenure as Head of Securities and Markets Supervision before 2019, which stretched over four years, Dr Buttigieg was responsible for work in the field of policy, regulation and supervision of securities, markets and FinTech. He joined the Authority in 2000 as Manager in the Investment Services Unit and has gained professional experience in various areas of financial regulation, supervision, the investigation of market misconduct and the enforcement of sanctions. Dr Buttigieg was responsible for implementing various pieces of EU legislation in the field of securities and markets and has led different regulatory and supervisory teams within the Authority. He sits on the Authority’s Supervisory Council and represents the MFSA at various European Fora on financial regulation and supervision. He is the MFSA’s alternate member on the ESMA Board of Supervisors and is the Chair of the ESMA Data Standing Committee. Dr Buttigieg is a lecturer in the Banking and Finance Department of the University of Malta and has published various papers on financial regulation and supervision in academic and professional journals. For a period of two years, up to April 2015, Dr Buttigieg was a director on the board of the Malta Resources Authority, Malta’s energy regulator. In 2015, the President of Malta appointed Dr Buttigieg as a member on the board of the Fund for Voluntary Organisations. Dr Buttigieg is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Academy of European Law (Trier).

Chief Officer Strategy, Policy & Innovation, MFSA

Michael Xuereb

Michael Xuereb was appointed as Chief Officer Strategy, Policy and Innovation in March 2020. He joined the MFSA in 2000, heading a number of functions throughout his years at the Authority, more recently occupying the position of Director – Regulatory Development and Financial Stability. In 2019 he was appointed as Senior Advisor to assist in the implementation of policy initiatives and regulatory reforms, as well as in the CEO’s engagement with national and international institutions and other stakeholders. Michael started his career as Counsel for the Republic at the Attorney General’s office, later joining the Malta Development Corporation, Malta’s inward investment agency, where he served as General Manager for a number of years. In the course of his career he sat on various boards, among them, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, Finance Malta and Malta Industrial Parks Ltd, the Joint Financial Stability Board and was also an alternate member for the MFSA on the ESRB General Board. He has lectured in various institutions, including the University of Malta. Michael graduated as Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 1986 and holds a Master’s degree in Financial Services.

Former Global Chair, the Institute of Directors (IoD)

Charlotte Valeur

Charlotte Valeur has over 35 years of experience in finance, primarily as an investment banker in Denmark and the UK. She has an extensive career portfolio with several Non-Executive Directorships (NEDs) held. She also delivers training and advises boards on corporate governance through her company Global Governance Group. She is also a visiting professor in governance at the University of Strathclyde. Charlotte’s board roles in listed organisations include Chair of FTSE250 Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate Plc, NED of FTSE250 3i Infrastructure Plc, and Chair of Blackstone Loan Financing Ltd. Charlotte’s experience in unlisted companies includes being a Non-Executive Director of the international engineering firm Laing O’Rourke and Chair of The Institute of Directors (UK).

Chairman, Institute of Directors Malta Branch

Edwin Ward

Edwin Ward has 35 years of international experience in the successful creation and implementation of regional, pan-European and multinational brands as well as in the utilisation of innovation as an enabler in strengthening business. He spent 10 years as a lecturer at the University of Malta on brands and brand identity. As the Chair of the Institute of Directors in Malta, he moved from tertiary education to corporate education and has considerable experience in corporate governance issues, serving as a member of ecoDa's Policy Committee in Brussels since 2015, committed to changing how Europeans think about public sector and private sector governance issues. He is also Chair of WX2 Group, which has a property portfolio, a business hub and, communications holdings and Chair of the Paragon Group, its subsidiaries, and all related business activities. He has been a panelist or keynote speaker at more than 100 events in Brussels, Italy, the UK, Portugal, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Slovakia, Malta, Greece, and Spain. Previously he was a Chair and CEO in the global network of Ogilvy & Mather International.

Head, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

Clare Farrugia

Clare Farrugia was appointed as Head of Strategy, Policy and Innovation in November 2019. Ms Farrugia joined the Authority in 2008, following a number of years working with operators in the financial services industry. Throughout her career, she has gained professional experience in financial services regulation and supervision, also occupying other positions at the MFSA prior to this appointment. Clare spent over 7 years working at Authorisations, during which time she was responsible for handling the entire licensing process of authorised firms. She was later appointed as Senior Manager at the Securities and Markets Supervision, where she was responsible for the development and implementation of the on-site inspection programme and leading the on-site team, whilst focusing on the supervision of various authorised entities. Throughout her career at the MFSA, Ms Farrugia was also responsible for transposing and implementing various pieces of European financial services legislation in the field of securities, and has participated in a number of internal working groups. Clare holds an M.Sc in Finance and Financial Law from the University of London and a B.Com (Hons.) in Banking and Finance. She has been invited as a speaker at various conferences and has also participated in international regulatory fora, including working groups of the European Securities and Markets Authority.

Head, Communications, MFSA

Vanessa Macdonald

Vanessa Macdonald spent 25 years working in journalism, mostly at editorial level, specialising in finance, business and the economy. She spent several years as head of communications for a leading telecommunications company, a commercial bank and more recently the Central Bank of Malta. In all these roles, she initiated and completed several projects and worked at strategic level with the top executives to improve both internal and external communications, including social media marketing. Most of the roles also involved corporate social responsibility, where her priority was to ensure rigid protocols and governance. Over the course of her career, Vanessa spent 13 years overseas in a number of countries, including Qatar, the US and the UK, working in various sectors, ranging from international trade to medical audit. Vanessa has a diploma covering economics, marketing and the EU.

Deputy Head, Insurance and Pensions Supervision, MFSA

Romina Farrugia

Romina Farrugia is Chair of the Authorisation Forum and the Deputy Head of the Insurance and Pensions Supervision function within the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). Romina is an Accountant by profession and joined MFSA in February 2006, gaining significant experience in both the supervision as well as the authorisation of undertakings within the Insurance and Pensions sector.

Deputy Counsel, EU and International Affairs, MFSA

Ryan Borg

Ryan Borg was appointed a Deputy Counsel – EU and International Affairs within the Malta Financial Services Authority in May 2019. He has spent ten years as a diplomat at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union in Brussels occupying the role of Financial Counsellor. Ryan Borg had the privilege to contribute to several financial services legislations and represented Malta in various EU fora. Ryan Borg has over ten years of experience in high level relations with the EU institutions and other relevant stakeholders. During his posting in Brussels, he provided advice on economic and financial affairs and also participated in Ministerial Councils and various bilateral meetings. Moreover, throughout the Maltese Presidency in 2017 he had the opportunity to chair the Financial Counsellors working group and led trialogues negotiations with the European Parliament on a number of legislative files on which political agreement on some dossiers was reached.

Senior Manager, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

Gerd Sapiano

Gerd Sapiano is a Senior Manager within the Strategy, Policy, and Innovation function of the Malta Financial Services Authority. Throughout his time at the Authority, Gerd has been heavily involved in the drafting of various legislative instruments, supervision of investment firms, as well as the investigation of a number of firm specific issues. He is currently focusing his efforts on strategy and policy initiatives. Gerd has a law degree (LL.D.) and a Masters in financial services (M.A. Fin Ser.) from the University of Malta.

Analyst, Strategy, Policy and Innovation, MFSA

Sara Sassone

Sara joined the MFSA Strategy, Policy and Innovation Function in 2019, after working as a product governance analyst for an Ireland-based insurance undertaking. Since her appointment with the Authority, she has been extensively involved in the implementation of the various projects impacting the local regulatory framework relating to Corporate Governance. Sara holds an M.A in Law from the Universita Degli Studi di Torino and an ICA International Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance.

Managing Director, Actaco Financial

Alexia Farrugia

Alexia Farrugia founded Actaco Financial in 2016 after having spent almost 20 years working at managerial levels in financial services firms and other businesses. Alexia initially focused on investments services, where she has led teams in client-facing roles and operational functions, assisting wealth management and institutional clients and overseeing the implementation of several important regulatory milestones. She has also been an authorised trader on the Malta Stock Exchange. In 2013 Alexia successfully obtained, with distinction, a Masters in Finance awarded by Trinity College, Dublin, with specialisation in Risk Management. She is approved by the MFSA in the roles of Risk Manager and Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) and has helped a number of institutions to set up their risk management divisions and banking infrastructures in an advisory capacity. Ms. Farrugia has lectured Risk Management at the University of Malta and currently lectures in Securitisation. Alexia is a Member of the Malta Association of Risk Management (MARM), the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP), Finance Malta, and the Institute of Directors (IoD). She is currently pursuing the Chartered Director Programme, a professional qualification for directors coordinated by the UK chapter of the Institute of Directors.

Senior Associate, Ganado Advocates

Catherine Formosa

Catherine Formosa is a Senior Associate within Ganado Advocates’ Banking and Finance team, assisting a diverse range of banks and financial institutions in financing transactions, retail banking, and other general corporate and commercial matters. She regularly advises on banking regulatory as well as corporate governance matters. Catherine joined the firm after 16 years with one of Malta’s significant banks, where she was a member of a number of management committees and also spent six years as the group’s Company Secretary, where she gained considerable experience in the governance, capital markets, and regulatory fields. She currently also acts as Company Secretary for another entity listed on the Malta Stock Exchange. Catherine is also a visiting lecturer and an examiner at the Faculty of Laws, University of Malta.

Chairman, Institute of Directors (Cyprus)

Evdokimos Xenophontos

Evdokimos Xenophontos first joined the Bank of Cyprus as chief accountant in 1967, going on to become general manager in 1974 and group CEO in 1993. He was kept on as an independent board member when he retired in 2004 and served as vice-chairman from August 2012. Evdokimos Xenophontos holds a number of non-Executive directorships and is the current Chair of IoD Cyprus.

Chief Business Development Officer, BOV

Kenneth Farrugia

Kenneth Farrugia joined Bank of Valletta plc (BOV), Malta’s largest banking group, in 1985 and has since occupied various positions within the Bank. Kenneth currently holds the post of Chief Retail Banking Officer at BOV and sits on the Group’s Management Board. Kenneth is, amongst others, responsible for the improvement of the Bank’s market position, as well as the achievement of financial growth and long-term strategic business goals. Kenneth is also a Governor of FinanceMalta, Malta’s national promotional body for financial services, and also serves as Chairman of the MASA. He is also the Chairman of Malita Investments plc which is listed on the Malta Stock Exchange. Kenneth is married to Kathleen and has two children.

Non-Executive Director, Member - Board of Directors, APS Bank

Laragh Cassar

Dr Laragh Cassar was appointed to the Board of Directors of APS Bank plc in April 2016. Throughout her career, Dr Cassar has gained vast experience in many areas of practice including banking, investment services, asset management, capital markets and corporate law restructuring. Laragh was formerly a partner at Camilleri Preziosi and moved on in 2015 to establish the firm ‘Camilleri Cassar Advocates’. Dr Cassar obtained a Degree in Law from the University of Malta in 2002 and a Master of Law in Banking and Finance from the University of London in 2003. She also holds the role of Non-Executive Director on the board of Hili Properties p.l.c. and the role of Non-Executive Director and Company Secretary on the Board of Medserv p.l.c..

Member of the Advisor Board, Institute of Directors

Roberta Lepre

Graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2003, Roberta has acquired substantial experience in the social sector in Malta, having served on public bodies as well as in the non-profit sector, including the Guardian for Future Generations. Roberta is currently Director at Weave Consulting - engaging the business community to adopt sustainable practices to have a more positive impact on society and the environment and to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. She is also a founding member and Project Director of SEAM (Social Entrepreneurs Associations Malta), member of the board of VSF Malta, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Directors (Malta), as well as forming part of EcoDA’s Task Force on ESG matters. She also manages the newly set up Europe Direct Core Platform.

Financial Consultant

Steve Ellul

Steve Ellul is a Chartered Financial Analyst, an investment consultant and a lecturer within the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy at the University of Malta. Steve is an investment manager by profession and has managed institutional assets and mutual funds with an asset coverage ranging from equities, debt and alternative instruments across developed, emerging and frontier markets. Steve is now involved in the practical applicability of sustainable investing in the Maltese corporate context.

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