In recent years, Malta has proven itself to be a highly favourable jurisdiction from which to operate a variety of investment funds. Backed by a highly experienced Financial Services Team, Aequitas Legal offers comprehensive legal services to collective investment schemes and investment service providers who provide their services to such schemes, including fund managers, administrators and custodians, giving in depth legal advice designed to help progress your business.
Aequitas is able to assist with the registration of Professional Investment Funds (PIFs), retail funds including UCITS and other regulated entities such as hedge funds, private equity funds, venture capital and property funds. Funds in Malta may benefit from a 0 percent rate of tax. Asset managers, fund administrators, investment advisors and other financial service operators may seek to be licensed in Malta, and having obtained their licence can passport their services throughout the European Union. There is also an attractive personal taxation regime for employees of licensed companies with tax capped at 15%. Malta’s popularity is connected with its relatively low set up and running costs, low bureaucracy, fast turnaround, low minimum investment levels and unparalleled access to the regulator with an EU member state. Aequitas Legal offers all related services including registration of company, drafting of offer document, obtaining of licence, provision of local directors, key officials and MLROs.
Collective Investment Schemes
The regulation governing funds in Malta is laid out in the Maltese Investment Services Act, 1994 (as further revised), and further defined in rules issued by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). The MFSA is the competent authority for licensing and regulating collective investment schemes in Malta.
Professional Investor Funds or ‘PIFs'
There are numerous advantages in setting up a PIF in Malta, many of which are tax related. Funds with 15 percent or more of their portfolio invested outside of Malta are exempt from income or capital gains tax, there is no tax on capital gains made by non-resident investors and low set up fees among various other positive factors.
Aequitas Legal regularly assists in the setting up and registration of the corporate vehicles necessary to establish all types of Investment Funds, whether retail or professional. Our lawyers have extensive experience drafting offering documents and marketing materials, as well as advising on and assisting with licensing and compliance procedures. We are also able to assist with listing the fund on the local Stock Exchange.
Our second-to-none service combined with our in-depth knowledge of the Financial Services Industry makes us the first choice in Malta for fund managers and promoters.
Legal advice for Investment Services Companies
Aequitas Legal offers specialist legal advice in relation to all aspects of the regulation and practicalities surrounding the provision of investment services. We are regularly requested to assist in the setup, registration and licensing of investment services companies. We also offer the services of compliance officers as well as consultancy services relating to compliance with Maltese regulation, working hand in hand with compliance officers of investment services companies.
Aequitas Legal offers ad hoc advice tailored to the individual needs of its investment services clients. In addition, we also assist clients who wish to open and operate branches, or offer their services in other EU countries using their Maltese License in accordance with EU and Maltese regulation.
Our Investment Services team work hand in hand with our firm’s tax lawyers to give comprehensive advice on tax implications of our clients’ investment services activities.
Aequitas Legal works with both local and International banks, pension providers, credit institutions and other financial service firms and payment service providers, delivering advice on a broad range of legal, regulatory and compliance issues.
Over recent years the Maltese banking system has undergone rapid development, and is constantly changing to reflect industry needs.
The Maltese Banking Act and regulations, as well as the rules and practices of the Malta Financial Services Authority are fully in line with the European Union. The MFSA has exerted a commitment to make Malta a key financial centre of Europe and in doing so has reduced bureaucracy, streamlined procedures and has lowered fees and compliance costs without compromising economic stability. This modernisation, as well as the flexibility and dynamism of the Maltese banking and regulatory systems, have made Financial Services Malta’s fastest growing industry, and an appealing jurisdiction for both new and established financial and credit institutions.
Malta offers a favourable regulatory framework from which e-money institutions may operate. The Maltese government has set up the first dedicated e-Money Enterprise Zone in the world, establishing Malta as the ideal European location for a host of e-commerce activities. Malta’s Electronic Commerce Act 2001 borrows extensively from best practices across the world, helping to ensure a robust and modern framework for a fast moving industry.
In addition, relatively low start-up fees, a highly incentivised tax regime and an excellent reputation for Financial Services all serve to make Malta a highly regarded jurisdiction from which to operate e-money enterprises.
Aequitas Legal has acted for leading insurance companies and insurance intermediaries, offering expert and tailored legal advice on a range of issues including Captive Relocation and PCC legislation.
Insurance in Malta is mainly regulated by the Insurance Business Act 1998 and the Insurance Intermediaries Act 2006, and is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority. In recent years the Maltese authorities have made extensive changes to this legislation to bring it into line with the EU framework. Malta has since established an excellent reputation for offering a robust, flexible and responsive environment in which to do business, with a particular focus on the captive insurance market, referred to as affiliated insurance in Maltese legislation. Malta licensed insurance companies also benefit from the European Union single passport for services and establishment, so once they have established a base in Malta, they are able to operate in any EU jurisdiction without the need for a local license.
Malta has also introduced the Protected Cell Company (PCC) legislation, which makes entry to the captive insurance market far more accessible for companies that previously may have found this uneconomical.
Prevention of Money Laundering
The growing concern throughout the world regarding money laundering, particularly in relation to potential terrorist financing, has led to an overwhelming amount of new EU Anti-Money Laundering legislation and rules which establish due diligence requirements that must be observed at the initiation and throughout on-going customer relationships.
In response to the growing demand for specialist Anti Money Laundering advice, Aequitas Legal has formed a practice comprised of highly experienced banking, corporate and financial lawyers. Our lawyers specialise in helping banks, credit organisations, insurance and other financial institutions create compliance frameworks and procedures designed to ensure that legislative and regulatory requirements are met.
Aequitas is equipped to help clients in this area in a variety of ways, by providing ad hoc advice as requested by clients, by giving lectures to staff in order to acquaint them with their responsibilities under the regulation as well as by providing the services of money laundering reporting officers.