Updated: MFSA welcomes EBA decision to close preliminary inquiry

The Malta Financial Service Authority (MFSA), the Maltese financial regulator, this morning welcomed the European Bank Authority’s decision to close the preliminary inquiry on it as it found that these two authorities did not breach any European law in the way they handled Pilatus Bank.

In a press release, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services Silvio Schembri stated that this decision came amidst destructive criticism aimed at undermining the financial services sector “just for the sake of partisan antics. Schembri added that the government has enacted changes with respect to the operations of the MFSA to give the regulatory authority more tools to carry out its work more efficiently and effectively, and it aims to invest further in MFSA.

This despite the fact that in a letter to European Members of Parliament, the EBA stated that serious concerns were identified this respect. These include the engagement between the MFSA and the FIAU during the bank’s authorisation process, the robustness of due diligence checks conducted as part of the authorisation process, the prudential supervisory response to concerns about effectiveness of AML/CFT systems and controls, and the resources and risk prioritisation given to credit institutions pursuing a private banking business model with predominantly non-resident customers.

In a press release issued this morning, the MFSA said that it is pleased that the actions it took with respect to Pilatus Bank are now recognised. It added that it is ready to collaborate with the EBA, as well as other European supervisory entities in the European Union to continue developing supervision on money laundering cases.

It was said that the MFSA is implementing a number of strategic initiatives to strengthen the Authority’s supervisory capacity and regulatory performance.