Authorisations Committed to providing a clear, open and transparent authorisation process whilst ensuring rigorous assessment of the applicable regulatory standards.

The Authorisations Process

The MFSA is the competent authority in Malta responsible for granting authorisation to persons seeking to carry out financial services activities. Authorisation is an important part of the overall supervisory framework.

The authorisation process of entities seeking to enter the financial services industry is a key function of the Malta Financial Services Authority in its gatekeeper role. The objective of the assessment of an application for authorisation is to ensure that criteria detailed under the respective financial services legislation are satisfied at authorisation stage and continue to be fulfilled on an ongoing basis.

Who Needs an Authorisation?

The Authorisation Unit is responsible for the processing of applications, changes in control and appointment of approved persons, requests for changes in documentation, waiver/exemption applications as well as passporting notifications under the relevant EU/EEA Directives.

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Understanding Our Authorisation Process

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.

OUR Authorisations PROCESSAuthorisations Service CharterRule 4 of the MFSA Act

The Personal    Questionnaire

Prior regulatory approval is required before a person takes up a position which can influence the direction of an Entity, or occupies certain positions of trust. Approval is subject to a due diligence process by the MFSA to ensure that the Applicant meets the ‘fit and proper’ or suitability criteria and has the necessary qualities to perform the responsibilities required in his/her position.

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The Corporate Questionnaire

The Corporate Questionnaire shall be duly filled in by Qualifying Shareholders or Other Controllers (‘Qualifying Holder’) which have legal personality and are being proposed as an Involvement with an Applicant or Authorised Person.

AX01 - CORPORATE QUESTIONNAIREAX18 - Trusts and Fiduciaries Additional Questionnaire

The MFSA’s Authorisations Catalogue

The MFSA is committed to providing a clear, open and transparent authorisation process while ensuring a rigorous assessment of the applicable regulatory standards.

The requested documentation is listed in the applicable application form for the specific category of licence or recognition in the Authorisations Catalogue below.

Banking
Credit and Financial
Institutions

Investment Services

Capital Markets

Insurance, Pensions and Intermediaries

Virtual Financial Assets

Banking – Credit and Financial Institutions

Credit Institutions

Credit institutions are entities licensed to operate under the Banking Act (Cap. 371 of the Laws of Malta). According to the Banking Act, a credit institution can undertake a number of activities which are specified in the Schedule to the same Act.

The business of banking is the taking of deposits of money from the public from retail customers for the purpose of employing, lending or investing such money.

Financial Institutions

Financial Institutions are entities licensed to operate under the Financial Institutions Act (Cap. 376 of the Laws of Malta) and means a person who regularly and habitually undertakes the carrying out of the activity listed in the First Schedule thereof.

Financial Institutions fall within two broad categories:
i) Financial Institutions undertaking other activities such as lending, financial leasing, the provision of guarantees and commitments, foreign exchange services and money brokering;

ii) Institutions undertaking payment services and/or the issuance of electronic money (more commonly known as ‘payment institutions’ or ‘electronic money institutions’, respectively).

Investment Services

Investment Firms

Investment firm is defined as any legal person whose regular occupation or business is the provision of one or more investment services to third parties and/or the performance of one or more investment activities on a professional basis.

These Investment Firms are licensed to operate under the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370 of the Laws of Malta).

Fund Management

Any scheme or arrangement which has as its object or as one of its objects the collective investment of capital acquired by means of an offer of units for subscription, sale or exchange and which has a set of characteristics as specified in the Investment Services Act.

Investment Services Providers are regulated in terms of the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370 of the Laws of Malta) and include:
i) MiFID Firms;
ii) Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs) and UCITS Management Companies, collectively referred to as Investment Managers;
iii) Custodians.

Application

Revised Applications in accordance with the New Authorisation Process (upload via LH Portal)

Other Applications (upload via LH Portal)

Passporting

Schedule D – Provision of Cross-Border Services Under Freedom to Provide Services

Schedule E – Provision of Cross-Border Services via the Establishment of a Branch

Fund Administrator

Any scheme or arrangement which has as its object or as one of its objects the collective investment of capital acquired by means of an offer of units for subscription, sale or exchange and which has a set of characteristics as specified in the Investment Services Act.

Investment Services Providers are regulated in terms of the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370 of the Laws of Malta) and include:
i) MiFID Firms;
ii) Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs) and UCITS Management Companies, collectively referred to as Investment Managers;
iii) Custodians.

Funds

Any scheme or arrangement which has as its object or as one of its objects the collective investment of capital acquired by means of an offer of units for subscription, sale or exchange and which has a set of characteristics as specified in the Investment Services Act.

Investment Services Providers are regulated in terms of the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370 of the Laws of Malta) and include:
i) MiFID Firms;
ii) Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs) and UCITS Management Companies, collectively referred to as Investment Managers;
iii) Custodians.

Application

Undertakings Collective Investments in Transferable Securities

Revised Applications in accordance with the New Authorisation Process (upload via LH Portal)

Other Applications (upload via LH Portal)

Passporting

Alternative Investment Funds

Revised Applications in accordance with the New Authorisation Process (upload via LH Portal)

Other Applications (upload via LH Portal)

Passporting

Professional Investment Funds

Revised Applications in accordance with the New Authorisation Process (upload via LH Portal)

Other Applications (upload via LH Portal)

Notified Alternative Investment Funds

Other Applications (upload via LH Portal)

Custodians / Depositaries

Any scheme or arrangement which has as its object or as one of its objects the collective investment of capital acquired by means of an offer of units for subscription, sale or exchange and which has a set of characteristics as specified in the Investment Services Act.

Investment Services Providers are regulated in terms of the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370 of the Laws of Malta) and include:
i) MiFID Firms;
ii) Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs) and UCITS Management Companies, collectively referred to as Investment Managers;
iii) Custodians.

Recognised Persons

Recognised Persons are legal persons established in Malta and which are issued with a Recognition Certificate in terms of the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370 of the Laws of Malta).

Such legal persons are:
(i) Fund Administrators
(ii) Recognised Incorporated Cell Companies
(iii) Private Collective Investment Schemes

Capital Markets

Trading Venues

Regulated markets are multilateral systems operated and / or managed by a market operator, which bring together or facilitate the bringing together of multiple third-party buying and selling interests in financial instruments – in the system and in accordance with its non-discretionary rules – in a way that results in a contract, in respect of the financial instruments admitted to trading under its rules and, or systems, and which is authorised and functions regularly and in accordance with Title III of MiFID.

Regulated Markets are regulated in terms of the Financial Markets Act (Cap. 345 of the Laws of Malta).

Securitisation

Securitisations are transactions or arrangements undertaken by securitisation vehicles, including securitisation cell companies, to issue financial instruments in order to directly or indirectly, and in whole or in part, finance the acquisition of securitisation assets from originators by any means, or the assumption of risks from originators by any means, or the granting of secured loans or other secured facilities to originators.

Securitisations regulated in terms of the Securitisation Act (Cap. 484 of the Laws of Malta).

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding Service Provider is defined as any legal person whose regular occupation or business is matching of business funding interests of investors and project owners through the use of a crowdfunding platform.

These Crowdfunding Service Providers are licensed to operate under the European Crowdfunding Service Providers Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2020/1503 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 October 2020).

Data Reporting Service Providers

Data reporting services providers (DRSPs) enhance transparency and effective supervision of financial markets, enabling investors and national competent authorities (NCAs) to receive accurate and comprehensive trading data.

Regulation (EU) No 600/2014 on markets in financial instruments (MiFIR), as amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/2175 (ESAs review), provides the following categories of DRSPs:

approved reporting mechanisms (ARMs): entities providing the service of reporting details of transactions to competent authorities or to ESMA on behalf of investment firms
approved publication arrangements (APAs): entities providing the service of publishing trade reports on behalf of investment firms
consolidated tape providers (CTPs): entities providing the service of collecting trade reports from trading venues and APAs, consolidating them into a continuous electronic live data stream providing price and volume data per financial instrument.

MiFIR (as amended by the ESAs Review) envisages that - starting from 1 January 2022 - ESMA is granted direct responsibilities regarding the authorisation and supervision of DRSPs, except for those APAs and ARMs that fall under a derogation.
MiFIR).

Insurance, Pensions and Intermediaries

(Re) Insurance Undertakings

This section applies to legal persons seeking to establish an Insurance Undertakings, a Reinsurance Undertaking or a Captives in terms of the Insurance Business Act (Cap. 403 of the Laws of Malta) (“IBA”) and pursuant to Article 7 of the IBA to carry on direct or reinsurance general business and, or long term business.

Personal Retirement Schemes

A Personal Retirement Scheme is a scheme established for the principal purpose of providing Retirement Benefits. This section applies to Retirement Scheme Administrators seeking to establish a Personal Retirement Scheme in terms of the Retirement Pensions Act (Cap. 514 of the Laws of Malta).

Occupational Retirement Schemes

An Occupational Retirement Scheme is a scheme established for the principal purpose of providing Retirement Benefits in the context of an occupational activity. This section applies to Retirement Scheme Administrators seeking to establish an Occupational Retirement Scheme to in terms of the Retirement Pensions Act (Cap. 514 of the Laws of Malta).

Retirement Funds

Retirement Funds are arrangements established for the principal purpose of holding and investing contributions made to one or more retirement schemes and/or overseas retirement schemes. This section applies to Retirement Scheme Administrators seeking to establish a Retirement fund in terms of the Retirement Pensions Act (Cap. 514 of the Laws of Malta).

Insurance Intermediaries

Insurance Agents, Insurance Managers, Insurance Brokers, Tied Insurance Intermediaries and Ancillary Insurance Intermediaries are regulated by the Insurance Distribution Act, regulations issued thereunder, and the Insurance Distribution Rules and Conduct of Business Rules made by the MFSA.

Virtual Financial Assets

VFA Agent

Persons wishing to provide and exercise the functions listed under Article 7 and/or Article 14 of the VFA Act shall be required to register as a VFA Agent, through the submission of the online VFA Agent Registration Form which may be accessed by clicking below.

The Registration Form needs to be accompanied by Annexes which may be accessed through the links below.

Whitepaper

Any person wishing to issue a VFA to the public in or from within Malta is required to draw up a whitepaper which includes the information listed in the First Schedule of the VFA Act and register said whitepaper with the MFSA.

Persons wishing to register a Whitepaper with the MFSA in accordance with the VFA Act are required to submit, through a registered VFA Agent, an online Whitepaper Registration Form. The Registration Form needs to be accompanied by Annexes which may be accessed through the links below. Whitepapers which have been successfully registered by the Authority shall subsequently be found within the Authority’s Financial Services Register.

VFA Service Provider

Persons wishing to provided one or more services listed under the Second Schedule of the VFA Act in relation to such assets are required to apply for a licence through a registered VFA Agent, by submitting the online VFA Service Provider Application Form.

Beneficial Owners, Qualifying Holders, Administrators and Senior Managers of the Applicant are required to submit a PQ prior to the submission of the Application Form. The Application Form needs to be accompanied by Annexes which may be accessed through the links below.

VFA Services Provider should submit their application through a registered VFA Agent.

For more information on the framework please visit... VFA