Ifs Malta organised its annual dinner at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Attard. The well-established and highly-anticipated event in the calendar of bankers and financial services practitioners in Malta turned out to be a successful gathering of the leading financial players in the financial services sector together with others from the wider economy.

As customary, official speeches were delivered by the Central Bank of Malta Governor and the minister for finance.

Ifs Malta president Kenneth Micallef commenced proceedings with a welcome address in which he highlighted the institute’s main achievements during the year, with its academic success of having over 200 students completing their course of studies being at the forefront.

Ifs Malta currently offers more than 30 internationally recognised financial and academic programmes in diverse areas, most of which are done through strategic alliances with internationally-renowned professional educational bodies.

He added how the institute is committed to doing its utmost for the betterment of the financial services sector. To this end, it has recently updated its award in home loan finance qualification following regulatory changes and organised a number of informative and well-attended seminars such as that pertaining to regulation and financial crime compliance in the funds industry and the better understanding of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) Revised Implementing Procedures.

Seminar focused on the topical theme of combating financial crime

Furthermore, this year’s annual seminar focused on the topical theme of combating financial crime with the participation of leading industry experts. In conclusion, Mr Micallef thanked all ifs committee members and staff and all stakeholders for their ongoing support.

The first keynote address of the evening was delivered by the governor of the Central Bank, Mario Vella. In his address, Dr Vella commended ifs Malta on its various achievements and for having another successful year.

He also gave an overview of the challenging international macroenvironment and stated that while Malta’s economic performance is projected to remain strong and resilient, it will be less than previous years.

To sustain economic success and seek new investment opportunities, further investment in human capital and technology were necessary, he said. There is a need to ensure compliance with the highly-regulatory environment and rigorous standards of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.

Dr Vella ended his address by highlighting the Central Bank’s efforts to promote inclusiveness and diversity and develop its social research capability on studying inequalities together with its involvement in sustainable finance.

The final address of the evening was delivered by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, who thanked ifs Malta for its ongoing commitment towards the professional development of financial services education in Malta.

Prof. Scicluna gave a comprehensive overview of the difficult international economic environment and showcased Malta’s robust economic performance and how policy decisions are allowing it to enter these challenging times from a position of strength.

There is still a lot that needs to be done, including the need to bolster physical and human capital, he commented. This will contribute towards creating an environment that continues to foster progress by upgrading Malta’s economy and its diversification into higher value-added activities.

In spite of the ongoing challenges, the financial services sector also has a key role to play in the next stage of Malta’s future economic success and more inclusive growth, Prof. Scicluna concluded.