MFSA and FIAU launch guidance to companies engaging in FinTech

A non-binding Guidance Document to support companies looking to set up accounts for FinTechs, has been jointly launched by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).

The document which is aimed at Credit Institutions, Payment Institutions and Electronic Money Institutions, was created following a public consultation started at the end of March. Its aim has been to provide assistance and information to institutions with customers engaging in high-tech activities like FinTech.

The guidance is understood to be non-binding nor is it aimed at providing an escape from legal obligations like the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations (‘PMLFTR‘).

Both bodies stress that the guidance document is ‘read together with the Implementing Procedures and any other relevant guidance document issued by the FIAU, as well as within the more general context provided by the PMLFTR. The Authorities encourage affected institutions to take this document into consideration when formulating their risk assessment measures, controls, policies and procedures.’

Dr Christopher P. Buttigieg, Chief Officer Strategy, Policy and Innovation, explained that, ‘The MFSA is well aware of the need to strike a delicate balance in this area. We cannot attract new business in financial technology if such companies do not find the required banking services. At the same time, we understand that banks operate on risk-based priorities and need to follow strict regulatory standards. Whilst it is not our role to set banks’ risk appetite, we can facilitate business as much as possible by clarifying our expectations to all operators in these emergent sectors.’