My first weeks at the MFSA have only intensified my determination to build on the valuable work that my colleagues have been carrying out at the Authority. I am delighted to share with you my first thoughts on how, together, we can all do our part to take this industry to a new level and contribute to delivering the best standards in financial services.
The local financial services industry, and the jurisdiction as a whole, are at a crossroads. We are indeed facing a number of challenges, mainly as a result of the continuous evolution of the regulatory environment, the introduction of new and more complex products, and, of course, the FATF greylisting. On this last point, we reiterate our commitment to continue collaborating closely with the National Coordinating Committee on Combating Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism to provide our assistance in moving beyond this phase.
This moment, however, also presents to us an opportunity to strengthen, consolidate and future-proof the sector.
While the Authority has a significant part to play in this, the role of the participants in the industry is just as weighty. Together, we share common ground and goals, because ultimately, a vibrant financial services sector is beneficial to everyone. This calls for all stakeholders to be aligned and pull on the same rope. We must all work together to safeguard the industry and uphold the integrity of the jurisdiction.
In this regard, the Authority remains committed to engage frequently with all stakeholders, encouraging constructive and transparent dialogue. We will continue offering all the support needed to regulated entities and prospective applicants to stay ahead of the regulatory curve by fostering a compliance culture and, in so doing, minimise cost, time and effort in the long run. While attention to rigour and thoroughness in our supervisory engagement is a must, it is not our intention to impose an undue supervisory burden. Our risk-based approach and the adoption of a proportionality principle will keep driving our supervisory efforts.
Next year will see the Authority continuing to enhance its process efficiency by improving culture and conduct through intrusive supervision and effective enforcement. We want the message to be clear: lax compliance is not acceptable and can spell serious trouble for any financial institution.
The next MFSA Strategic Plan will set a clear course for the sustainable growth of the sector, with a focus on compliance, competitiveness and innovation. A healthy market also necessitates consumer confidence. Safeguarding consumers’ interests and promoting best practices to ensure consumers of financial services are treated fairly will remain one of our key strategic objectives.
As a dynamic Regulator, the MFSA wants to actively contribute to the future of the financial services industry in Malta by fine-tuning the skills we have developed over the years, opening up to new opportunities, and strengthening the industry overall. I have great faith in this sector and will endeavour to drive toward this vision with resoluteness.
Lastly, I would like to thank the Board for the confidence they have shown in me, and the MFSA team for the warm welcome and their hard work over the last few months. I am pleased to be working with a group of highly motivated individuals led by a skilled senior leadership team. Our people will no doubt continue to be our greatest asset to reach the same levels of excellence which we expect from the industry.
Chief Executive Officer, MFSA