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Newly Licensed Hedge Funds In Malta Double

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

15 December 2008

The Maltese Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has recently revealed that newly licensed hedge funds were increasing two-fold on the island, thanks to the jurisdiction's competitive set up costs and recently implemented regulatory measures.

MFSA Chairman Joe Bannister spoke about the increase in funds at a roundtable debate on the subject, where he noted that the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) sector in Malta is also showing signs of further expansion, alongside the fund-servicing and fund administration sectors. The MFSA Chairman also emphasized that Malta’s first priority when it comes to licensing new funds remained quality rather than the quantity.

Among the reasons given for this growth in the investment funds sector was that being part of the European Union (EU) has allowed Malta to develop into a fully fledged funds domicile that provides competitive access to the European and international markets.

Bannister stated that the recent updates in legislation have been mainly inspired by developments at EU level and included the implementation of the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD), UCITS III, and the new eligible assets regime. This legislation is directed at providing for a more integrated European financial market by allowing EU-based funds and their providers the freedom to compete on a level playing field.

Kenneth Farrugia, Vice-Chairman of FinanceMalta, who also spoke at the meeting, attributed Malta’s success in attracting funds to its high level of cost competitiveness. Citing recent research on the subject, he said: "on a comparative basis Malta is very cost competitive both at the set up stage in terms of setting up costs of a Scheme, as well as regards ongoing servicing costs such as custody and fund administration costs."

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