The MFSA has today published its three-year Strategic Plan highlighting its supervisory priorities and the key priority areas which will be addressed in order to achieve its ambitious Vision by 2021. This Plan has been developed in the context of challenges faced by the local and international financial markets, such as the labour supply and new emerging risks emanating from the drive towards financial innovation and technology. The Strategic Plan also gives due consideration to international regulatory developments and instances of misconduct on both a local and global level, which may have negatively impacted the trust in the financial services market worldwide.
Emphasising the importance for openness, transparency and accountability, the publication of this Strategic Plan follows a consultation process with licence holders in the form of a survey which was carried out in March 2019. Through this market survey, licence holders were given the opportunity to rate the performance of the Authority and provide feedback on challenges and strategic areas that should be addressed. With this roadmap, the MFSA is taking on-board recommendations made by international institutions and standard setters, namely, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Moneyval, rating agencies, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Banking Authority.
In the meantime, the Authority is developing a new 5-Year Business Plan which envisages a reform in the financing model of the MFSA, ensuring its long-term sustainability and equipping the Authority with sufficient resources to fulfil its mandate. This reform includes the introduction of new ancillary fees to cover services currently provided free of charge, as well as a revision in authorisation and supervisory fees so that the new revenue model reflects the real cost of supervision based on the risk profile/assessment of each sector supervised by the MFSA. Furthermore, the new business plan should lead the MFSA to become self-funded by 2024 in line with the financing model adopted in other European jurisdictions.
In addition to a number of sector-specific priorities which consider the wide array of entities regulated by the MFSA, the Strategic Plan draws on the main pillars of the MFSA’s strategic framework and targets specific cross-sectoral priorities. Aimed at embracing innovation and technology and improving the efficiency and efficacy of the Authority’s core functions, these priorities are intended to:
- Strengthen the governance, culture and conduct within the financial services market;
- Renew our commitment towards preventing, detecting and addressing instances of money laundering, financial crime and the financing of terrorism; the MFSA will be carrying out thematic reviews on sector-specific risks, and provide guidance to firms on good practice measures;
- Safeguard the stability and sustainability of the local financial market against current and emerging risks; a new Financial Stability function will be set up within the Authority, coupled with investment in Business Intelligence, Knowledge management, Cybersecurity measures and new analytical tools;
- Embrace the challenges and opportunities provided by technology and innovation to enhance our supervisory capacity and foster the growth and stability of the financial market. The MFSA will be investing Eur 12M in technology development over the next three years;
- Increase the MFSA’s organisational capacity and operational efficiency whilst taking measures to address the gaps in the local labour market;
- Enhance our conduct supervisory framework by focusing on consumer education and awareness to ensure the protection of consumer interests.
Commenting on the launch of the Strategic Plan, MFSA CEO, Joseph Cuschieri, explained that: “Our Strategic Plan is focused on strengthening the MFSA and preparing it for the next generation of financial services. This roadmap defines the specific programmes and actions we will be taking to achieve this objective, with substantial investment in our human resources, capacity building and investment in cutting-edge technologies. This reflects our commitment to provide a more agile, safe, dynamic and efficient environment to the benefit of consumers and regulated firms.”