The financial services regulator has abandoned plans to move to larger premises citing financial constraints. 

It will instead upgrade its existing premises in Mrieħel in a bid to make more efficient use of available space.

The Malta Financial Services Authority had been seeking to move since 2018 when it issued an expression of interest for which seven submissions were received.

However, all were deemed to be "costly", Finance Minister Edward Scicluna told parliament when replying to a question from Justice Shadow Minister Jason Azzopardi. The latter asked on the outcome of the call and for an update on the project.

Scicluna said the MFSA ditched the plan in February after evaluating all submissions received.

“The authority is instead evaluating the possibility of re-designing and re-developing the existing premises in Mrieħel to transform them into modern offices that will cater to its future needs,” Scicluna said.

He added that works would start in the coming weeks.

Bids ranged from €2 million to €9 million a year 

The MFSA’ reasoning behind its decision to scrap the move contrasts with the position it had adopted in 2018 when it had justified this on grounds it needed bigger premises to provide a better service.

At the time, senior MFSA officials had expressed disagreement as the decision was taken when the authority had just awarded a contract worth more than €250,000 to refurbish the reception area of its Mrieħel premises.

Then, the regulator said the existing premises lacked basic facilities and was inadequate in terms of size, quality, requirements and layout, especially as it was estimating its staff to reach 480 by the end of 2021.

The call specified that the new premises had to have a footprint of 7,000 square metres in a location in a central area in Malta and in close proximity to an arterial road and a parking facility for 300 cars.

Even projects which at the time were still under construction were considered as long as the project would be completed by 2021.

By closing date in October 2018, seven offers were submitted ranging from leases costing under €2 million to €9 million a year.

 

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