The MFSA last night, 15 March 2021, published the new Company Service Providers (CSP) Rulebook, which translates the updated CSP Act into a workable regulatory framework

CSPs requiring authorisation will be able to submit their applications to the Authority through the MFSA’s LH Portal between 16 March 2021 and 16 May 2021 for authorisation in terms of the CSP Act. Note that any CSP already in possession of a registration as a CSP do not need to submit an application. Their registration will automatically be converted to an authorisation under the CSP Act and they will be contacted by the MFSA in relation to their class categorisation.

The CSP area – covering the formation of companies and other legal entities, the acting as or arranging for the provision of directors and secretaries of a company or partnership or similar position in relation to other legal entities, and the provision of registered office services – has been brought into a regulated environment in order to ensure that higher standards of service provision, risk assessment and AML compliance are raised across the industry. It is expected that many directors operating under the de minimis rule will now be brought into the fold of the new CSP framework, together with legal and accounting professionals and firms that previously operated on the basis of an exemption as warrant-holders.

The new Rulebook is the result of more than a year of work by the MFSA and is in part a reaction to concerns raised by Moneyval during their earlier review of Malta as a financial services centre. Throughout the drafting process the Institute for Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP) has engaged deeply with the MFSA’s senior management and the Conduct Supervision Unit, through the Institute’s CSP Working Group and Directors’ Working Group, with the aim of ensuring that the outcome of the drafting process is both effective in achieving its aims, and workable from the point of view of the industry.

Nick Captur, Vice President of the IFSP and the Chair of the Director’s Working Group said: ‘The consultation process was thorough and at times led to robust and challenging conversations with the MFSA. The IFSP supports the principle of ‘raising the bar’ but initially had some concerns about the rollout and some of the detail and proposed parameters. These have been largely addressed and demonstrates that the consultation process has worked well to achieve a shared objective in the interests of Malta’s financial services industry as a whole.

The Rulebook comes into force immediately, and CSPs – including the new CSP categories of warrant-holders and directors operating under the de minimis rule – have just two months within which to apply for licenses under one of the three classes established by the CSP Act and Rulebook, whether over- or under-threshold.

To this end the IFSP will be holding a focussed series of 3 online seminars on the new Rulebook and its requirements aimed at Directors. The series will also cover Anti Money Laundering requirements and specifically the FIAU’s Implementation Guidelines aimed at CSPs. The series is planned for 7th April, 9th April and 12th April, all starting at 16:00 hrs and each online session will last 2 hours. The cost is Eur150 for members and Eur200 for non-members. The IFSP will be extending its membership rate to members of the Malta branch of the Institute of Directors.

For further details on the seminars and registration, please visit the IFSP’s website: www.ifsp.org.mt. The new CSP Rulebook may be downloaded from the MFSA’s website. The application form is available on the MFSA’s CSP Framework page, where the MFSA will continue to add any updates and further guidance. This is expected to include the MFSA’s “By Way of Business” Guidance Note and a set of FAQs.

Source: IFSP

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