Malta’s new institutional securitisations market will strengthen its competitive position in Europe

Malta’s launch of its Institutional Securitisations Market (ISM) later this year will put the country on a competitive footing in the sector with Luxembourg and Dublin, according to Managing Partners Group (MPG), the international asset management group.

Jeremy Leach, Chief Executive Officer at MPG, believes the move signifies a huge effort by the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) in advancing its services and improving the quality of financial services conducted in the country. The timing of the launch, in which the ISM will become a segment of the Exchange, also coincides with the introduction this year of the new ‘Simple, Transparent and Standardised securitisations’ regulations (STS) by the Capital Markets Union, who’s legislative measures aim to promote a safe and liquid market for securitisations.

Malta’s securitisations framework is highly attractive: no VAT is applied to transactions, no withholding tax is payable on dividends or interest and importantly, there is no taxation on profit made inside securitisations in Malta. “This means that tax free profits can be accrued inside an ABS to offset the depreciation of the underlying assets, which significantly reduces the default risk,” Jeremy Leach said.

However, Jeremy Leach believes that Malta’s securitisations could be more attractive if they were to drop the requirement for securitisations to have a trustee overseeing them: He added: “Many of the transactions involving the underlying assets within securitisations are esoteric, so getting someone with the specialist knowledge can be a difficult task and for this reason it is not always a straightforward exercise to appoint a trustee. Ireland requires this but Luxembourg does not, which gives it a major advantage in attracting business.”

MPG held a seminar at the Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, London, for accountants and fund managers to showcase Malta as a domicile for debt capital markets within the EU. Speaking at the seminar, Stephanie Galea, Head of Business Development and Marketing at the MSE, commented: “The ISM will be a regulated and very  specialised market for institutional investors. We anticipate that it will be attractive to those issuers looking for a less expensive alternative to other markets but still with high professional standards and a comprehensive range of services to give issuers and investors a one-stop shop in this sector.”

Ivan Grech, Head of Business Development at FinanceMalta, the public-private initiative set up to promote the country as an International Financial Centre, told delegates at the seminar that Malta’s legal and regulatory framework made it highly accessible and business-friendly while its highly educated workforce, robust and developed operational infrastructure, cost-competitiveness and political/economic stability provided a safe jurisdiction. He commented: “Malta’s GDP growth is amongst the highest in the EU and its unemployment is the lowest. Malta’s financial services industry is driven by an eco-system of sector diversity.”