Significant changes to the Company Service Providers Act, 2013, came into force on 16 March 2021 by virtue of Act L of 2020. This means that all persons, whether individuals or firms, providing company services to third parties by way of business are now required to apply for authorisation as a Company Service Provider. These persons include lawyers, accountants and auditors as well as any persons acting as director or company secretary doing so by way of business. As part of its outreach to support applicants in the authorisation process, the MFSA is organising a webinar on 15 April, during which members of the Conduct Supervision team will address any questions and concerns raised. There will be two sessions during the day, one starting at 1000hrs and one starting at 1400hrs. Interested participants can register on the MFSA website by not later than Monday, 12 April 2021.
The Malta Financial Services Authority has also published an updated Rulebook for Company Service Providers. The Rulebook strengthens the regulatory framework and raises standards for all Company Service Providers.
The Authority has published guidance on the application of the ‘by way of business’ test and provided practical examples here.
Furthermore, through Legal Notice 105 of 2021 specific categories of persons have been exempted from applying for authorisation under the CSP Act.
Applicants will be able to submit their applications to the Authority through the LH Portal until 16 May 2021 for authorisation in terms of the CSP Act. The LH Portal can be accessed here: https://lhportal.mfsa.mt/. If a firm or individual does not apply within the two-month application window, then it cannot continue providing company service provider services.
Through this reform all those providing company service provider services will be screened for fitness and propriety by the Authority while as CSPs they will be legally required to comply with the prevention of money laundering and funding of terrorism rules. The MFSA website explains the fit and proper competence assessment which is applied by the Authority in relation to qualifying holdings, directors, officers and senior managers of the applicant. For further information see here.
For more information including FAQs please see here.