New PIF class targets 'extraordinary investors'
The MFSA is evaluating feedback following industry consultations on a new Professional Investor Fund (PIF) class targeting "extraordinary investors". The new class is suitable for equity investment, a new area for Malta.

This new offshoot of the PIF regime will be subject to lighter regulatory requirements than those applicable to PIFs targeting experienced or qualifying investors. PIFs for extraordinary investors will, however, be subject to more onerous eligibility criteria and a higher minimum investment amount.

In order to qualify as an "extraordinary investor", an investor should be a body corporate or partnership, with net assets in excess of $10 million or part of a group with net assets in excess of $10 million. Funds targeting extraordinary investors have no investment or borrowing restrictions and leverage is unlimited. The minimum initial investment has been set at $1 million or equivalent in another currency. In the case of an umbrella fund comprising a number of sub-funds established as PIFs targeting extraordinary investors, the threshold is applicable on a per scheme basis.

The MFSA is committed to review the complete application form and supporting documentation and to provide its comments to the promoter within three business days from submission. This timeframe only applies when the PIF appoints a third party manager and where all service providers are based and regulated in recognised jurisdictions.

The MFSA expects to launch the new PIF class shortly.

Moving towards Solvency II
The European Commission has requested the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pension Supervisors to prepare advice in order to introduce a new solvency and supervisory standard (Solvency II) for European Insurance Undertakings. CEIOPS has been requested to acquire insight into the possible quantitative inputs of this new solvency standard through a series of quantitative input statistics (QIS). CEIOPS has so far conducted two QISs.

QIS 3 will study the potential effect of these new proposals by CEIOPS for both insurance undertakings and groups of undertakings.

The MFSA is stressing the importance for Maltese insurance and reinsurance companies of participating in this exercise. It recently hosted Dennis van Welie from the Supervisory Policy Division Quantitative Risk Management of the De Nederlandische Bank for a presentation on QIS 3. Mr van Welie is a member of the Financial Stability Committee and the QIS Task Force.

During his presentation Mr van Welie stressed the importance of participating in QIS 3 as this is the final impact study before the presentation of the draft framework directive. QIS 3 represents an important step before the adoption of Solvency II (target date 2010).

The MFSA will accept contributions to QIS 3 until June 29, 2007. Further information can be obtained from the Insurance Business Unit at the MFSA or by visiting the CEIOPS website: www.ceiops.org

MFSA introducing Tied Agents regime
The MFSA has issued a circular to the financial services industry in relation to Malta's transposition and implementation of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). As part of the transposition of the directive, the MFSA has decided to introduce a new regime through which investment services licence holders may appoint tied agents.

The directive provides that member states may allow an investment firm to appoint tied agents to promote the services of the investment firm, soliciting business or receiving orders from clients or potential clients and transmitting them, placing financial instruments and providing advice in respect to such financial instruments and services offered by that investment firm. There are no financial resources requirements for tied agents and they will need to be registered (rather than licensed) by the MFSA once it is satisfied of their fit and proper status. The investment firm will remain fully and unconditionally responsible for all the acts or omissions on the part of the tied agent when acting on behalf of the firm. Tied agents will not be authorised to hold and/or control clients' money or assets.

The MFSA is currently in the process of drafting relevant regulations and investment services rules and will be issuing them for consultation in due course.

Annual report on consumer complaints
The MFSA's Consumer Complaints Unit has, for the first time, issued a separate annual report on consumer complaints.

The unit deals with complaints as well as with queries from consumers covering all aspects of financial services. The report features the activities of the unit and case notes on a number of complaints, with an analysis of the review process undertaken by the unit.

MFSA chairman Joe Bannister, in the opening statement of the report, makes it clear that the complaints manager's role is not to provide financial advice but to "impart general information to consumers who should then be able to have the necessary tools to make an informed decision for themselves".

The annual report also includes details about the publication of four comparative tables showing fees, charges and other information to help consumers compare and select products and services related to debit and credit cards, savings and current bank accounts, paying and receiving money by cheque and local bank account transfers. These tables can be downloaded from www.mfsa.com.mt/consumer.

The consumer affairs annual report can be downloaded from the MFSA website.

Comparative tables of bank fees
The MFSA has published a new leaflet containing a comparative table of local financial institutions' fees and charges relating to cross-border payments in foreign currency. The leaflet contains useful information about the rights and obligations of financial institutions (namely banks and exchange bureaux) and consumers when sending and receiving money to/from other countries.

This is the fifth MFSA leaflet comparing fees and charges of banks and exchange bureaux and should prove to be a useful tool for consumers and businesses. The previous four leaflets containing comparative tables related to local banks' fees and charges have also been updated.

The leaflets have been designed to show fees, charges and other information to help consumers compare and select products and services related to debit and credit cards, savings and current bank accounts, paying and receiving money by cheque, local bank account transfers and money transfers in foreign currency to other countries.

http://www.mfsa.com.mt/consumer

Online filing of documents
In the coming weeks the MFSA will be organising familiarisation sessions on use of the new electronic filing system of the Registry of Companies. The system has been designed to allow easy and convenient submission of documents online on a 24-hour basis.

Features include electronic filing of digitally-signed documents by company shareholders, officers or their representatives, including Memoranda and Articles of Association; annual returns and company returns relating to changes in directors and share transfers; and electronic payment of company registry fees.

The sessions will be open to professionals, company officials and corporate service providers who make regular use of the Registry of Companies. The afternoon session will last about two hours. Persons interested in attending are kindly requested to send full contact details to: e-mail registrations@mfsa.com.mt under the subject heading: "Online Registration Sessions".

Licences issued in March/April 2007
(i) Insurance Business Licences

Insurance companies

Licence issued to Trinity Lane Insurance Company Ltd to carry out business of insurance in three classes of general business in relation to risks situated outside Malta.

Insurance Brokers

Thomas Smith Insurance Brokers Ltd has been enrolled in the Brokers' List.

(ii) Trusts and Trustees

H.G.& G. Services Ltd has been authorised to receive property under trusts and to act as a trustee or co-trustee.

SB Fiduciary Ltd has been authorised to receive property under trusts and to act as a trustee or co-trustee.

J.P. Morgan Trustee and Depositry Co. Ltd has been authorised to act as a trustee.

Fiduciary Services

Rank Professional Services Ltd has been authorised to provide fiduciary services.

Classic Services Limited has been authorised to provide fiduciary services.

(iii) Surrender of licence

Surrender of collective investment scheme licence issued to Yuriplan Fund SICAV plc.

MFSA web site: http://www.mfsa.com.mt

Registry web site: http://registry.mfsa.com.mt

Consumer website: http://www.mfsa.com.mt/consumer

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us