Established through a legal decree on July 23, 2002, the MFSA is currently the only Maltese regulator of financial services (including – but obviously not limited to – online FX/CFD trading).
Upon its launch, the MFSA took over from the Central Bank of Malta, the Malta Financial Services Centre and the Malta Stock Exchange, in regards to the regulatory services it offers and functions it fulfills.
The agency is a fully autonomous one, only accountable to the Maltese Parliament, to which it reports on a yearly basis.
The regulatory umbrella of the Authority covers an impressive number of finance-related verticals. This includes credit institutions, electronic money institutions, companies offering securities- and investment-related services, pension funds, trustees, regulated markets, as well as insurance companies.
Above and beyond those tasks, the MFSA is also the Listing Authority for the financial markets and the Resolution Authority, as required by EU directive 2014/59/EU.
At the official website of the Authority, its organizational structure is presented in detail. Suffice to say that the obvious goal of this structure is to allow the regulator to exercise its functions within the limits defined by the law. To accomplish this, the MFSA currently employs some 355 people, among them lawyers, regulators, accountants as well as the necessary support staff.
Obviously, in addition to the above described regulatory tasks, the Authority also fulfills the role of protector and educator of the consumer.
Testimony to the performance of the MFSA is the fact that Malta has consistently ranked as one of the top jurisdictions in regards to the available financial services. Needless to say, the promotion of the country as an international financial centre is also one of the responsibilities of the regulator.
The fact that it is aiming to create a sound and attractive financial environment, does not mean that the MFSA is lax in regards to the international standards that need to be observed in this regard.
As a matter of fact, encouraging financial actors to observe the highest possible standards of behavior in the industry is also one of the missions of the organization.
Its other objectives include: the provision of information on various financial industry developments, local and global, and the issuing of licenses to various banking, stock broking, pension and investment businesses, preceded by the legally required checks and double-checks.
Providing foreign financial industry operators with advice and facilitating their settlement in Malta is also one of the functions of the MFSA.
The management of Malta’s Registry of Companies also falls under the authority of the MFSA.
Every facet of the MFSA’s operation observes EU legislation closely. This means that the MiFID directives are upheld, and rules are provided for every conceivable financial activity falling under any of the above mentioned categories.
The Authority also features a special Whistleblowing Reports Unit, which deals with reports submitted by third parties, concerning possible illegal and unethical practices pursued by various financial operators.
The MFSA provides whitleblowers with legally mandated protection. The WRU is part of the MFSA’s Enforcement Unit.