Graziella Grech took over as the Chief Operations Officer just a few weeks ago and already describes herself as being ‘energised’ by her new role.


Picture: Graziella Grech, Chief Operations Officer, FinanceMalta

Her 26 years of experience in banking clearly had a decisive role in her appointment, explaining that bankers always had to keep up to date with all that was going on.

“I think we are going through unprecedented changes – economic, geopolitical etc – and the more prepared we are, the more we can face up to the challenges,” she explained.

Over the course of her career, she has held many roles, from financial planning officer and relationship manager to running the complaints team – which meant liaising with the Malta Financial Services Authority and the Arbiter for Financial Services, so she has seen financial services from the other side of the coin, apart from knowing so many of the key players in the industry.

The ‘energy’ that she referred to is already making itself felt, and she is brimming with ideas, most of which she had pitched to the Board during her interview for the post. One important thrust of these proposals is to leverage the diplomatic corps.

“A case in point is the event we recently organized at the Guildhall in London, where over 600 prospective investors showed interest. This is the certificate we need to show that Malta is an international centre for financial services,” she said.

“We need to look out for new countries – for example, India. We need to find new collaborations, to be innovative in this constantly changing world.”

She stressed that while Malta is a small country with scant natural resources, it is rich in experience and expertise,  geographical location, EU membership and its use of the euro.

“And the regulator is very forward-looking: we already have policies in place that other countries have only started to catch up with – such as the FinTech policy, an important pillar for Malta,” she added.

She also wants to create more linkages between FinanceMalta members and ensure that they are also given opportunities for growth.

“We need to help them grow their visibility and reach as they more they grow, the more Malta grows. In 2024, I want to be the go-to person for members, offering them a bespoke solution. We have the newsletter and the podcasts, but we also need to see what they require and come up with ideas. That will strengthen the relationship between FinanceMalta and the members,” she vowed.

She also wants to build on collaboration across sectors, including ones outside financial services, such as yachting, aircraft leasing, family businesses and sustainable finance. The latter is very important in terms of both the green and blue economy.

She believes that the success of the Water Services Corporation’s recent green bond could be a model for other companies. FinanceMalta could help companies which do not have their own expertise by creating partnerships.

She is also a great believer in the blue economy: think marine wind turbines, for example.

“How would we approach this? We would need countries – and companies – that are already experts in this field and involve them in conferences, networking and so on. The blue economy could help Malta grow in innovative areas,” she said.

She is impressed by all that was achieved in 2023 by the “small but mighty team” at FinanceMalta, who she described as fully dedicated to their work.

“2023 was challenging as they had no COO for much of that time. This meant a lot of work pressure but what they did was fantastic. And 2024 is going to be even better. On January 18, we will have a huge event for our members where we will showcase what we are planning. It is going to be a fantastic year…”