Once again, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) would like draw the attention of the general public that no person may offer to provide financial services of any type unless that person is duly authorised by the Authority.
Last year (in July 2004), the MFSA issued a public warning about dubious financial arrangements being offered by a foreign national resident in Malta. However, it has now transpired that this activity has now resumed and a number of Maltese persons have been lured by the prospect of supposedly low interest and hassle-free financial arrangements.
The MFSA understands that Maltese businessmen (and other persons) have been offered the opportunity to enjoy loans of large sums purportedly with foreign banks. Some Maltese individuals are helping this foreign national to make contact with potential borrowers (perhaps in return for a commission). The potential borrowers are sometimes asked to make down payments running into thousands of liri on account of various administration costs and for other reasons related to this proposed arrangement.
The MFSA is aware that the Police are currently prosecuting a person involved in offering loan arrangements of this nature which have occasioned substantial financial loss to Maltese borrowers. In these cases, the promised loan did not materialise, and the down payments were not refunded.
The public is once again being urged to exercise caution when presented with schemes that offer easy access to money, and to immediately seek advice from licensed financial intermediaries or other qualified persons conversant with financial services law and practice before signing any documents or entering into any other commitment.
The MFSA reminds the public that only licensed persons and institutions are authorised to provide financial services and give investment advice. A list of licensed entities can be viewed on the MFSA website at www.mfsa.mt. The public can also verify whether a person or an institution is authorised by calling MFSA on freephone 800 74924 or by requesting for a list of licensed institutions to be sent to them by post.