Our Authorisation Process
The MFSA’s authorisation process is typically initiated through a meeting with the applicants. The scope is to facilitate our understanding of the strategy and business model being proposed and to explain our processes and requirements in relation to this proposal. This is the start of an interactive approach involving ongoing engagement with the applicant should the application materialise.
The applicant is invited to submit an application pack which should contain the complete set of required documents in accordance with the authorisation applied for. The requested documentation is listed in the applicable application form for the specific category of licence or recognition.
The application process will start once the complete application pack is submitted.
The process is twofold and is carried out in parallel. One part relates to the analysis of the business model and strategy proposal and the second part entails a fitness and properness assessment for involved parties in accordance with applicable legislation.
Application documentation supporting the business model will generally include the business plan, governance arrangements, financial projections as well as risk management policies, investment policies and outsourcing arrangements as applicable depending on the authorisation applied for. The assessment here aims to ensure that the applicant is able to satisfy regulatory requirements in relation to the business model being applied for on an ongoing basis. As part of the process, any clarifications and requests for further information are submitted to the applicant through a feedback letter. Once the applicant’s replies are received these can be followed by further engagement through correspondence or meetings as may be required until the criteria for authorisation are satisfied.
In parallel, the due diligence process is commenced in respect of all involved parties who are in a position to effect the direction of the applicant, including key functionaries and direct and indirect qualifying shareholders, up to the ultimate beneficial owner. Checks on the applicant’s competence and integrity are carried out with a view to ascertain that the applicant is able to carry out the proposed role within the ambit of proposed business model to an expected high standard. Fit and proper checks involve third party verification of personal information, exchange of information through close collaboration with foreign regulators and intelligence reports from specialized sources.
Once the above assessments are satisfactorily concluded a decision to proceed to authorisation is taken. Prior to formal authorisation, an applicant is notified of an in principle decision and a list of conditions to which the authorisation will be subject. At this stage of the process the applicant will address matters such as incorporation and capitalisation of the company and provide confirmation that it will be in a position to comply with its conditions of authorisation.
The certificate of authorisation is issued following satisfactory conclusion of the above.
Following the merging of the MFSA’s Authorisations function within the sectoral supervisory teams, the MFSA is issuing a Circular outlining who the primary contacts are for each sector, making it easier for firms to reach out to the Authority during the application process. Read more about the said circular here.