Members Spotlight – MZ Investment Services
19th December 2023
Picture: Josef Cutajar, Financial analyst for capital markets and investments, MZ Investment Services Ltd
MZ Investment Services Ltd is an investment services firm specialising in the provision of tailored income-generating solutions that take into consideration the returns as well as the unique goals, interests, preferences and risk profile of its clients.
Since its inception in January 1999, the company adopted a strategy that enabled it to focus on specific areas of expertise and investment strategies while maintaining at its core a client-centric approach that delivers a high level of attention and dynamic responsiveness. This approach also proved very effective during periods of elevated uncertainties across financial markets, as it allowed the company to respond quickly to its clients’ needs by limiting potential downsides and tapping opportunities as they arise.
As part of its growth strategy, in late 2019, MZ Investments increased its presence in the local capital market through the setting up of a Corporate Broking arm. Over the past four years, MZ Corporate Broking raised circa €0.5 billion in capital for various companies listed on the Malta Stock Exchange that operate in different economic sectors such as real estate, tourism, port infrastructure and financial services, among others.
The key services offered by the MZ Corporate Broking unit are:
Perhaps one of the most underappreciated aspects of our business is the significant influence that we have in the local corporate bond market. The aggregate nominal value of bonds issued by our corporate clients represents circa 37% of the total local corporate bond market, making us as the largest player in the field. Naturally, this position carries substantial responsibilities and demands hard work. However, we prefer maintaining a low profile and dedicate our time to providing the best possible service to our corporate clients and investors.
What are you currently working on, and what are your plans and strategic priorities for the coming years?
2023 was a record year with approximately €200 million in new bond issuances. Although the year started in the context of an adverse investment climate marked by surging inflation and tightening monetary policies across developed economies, aside from the war in Ukraine, it turned out to be a highly successful 12-month period. This positions us well to look ahead with optimism as we prepare for another busy year with some exciting activities expected to take place which we hope will receive a positive response from the market at large.
We are a dedicated team and the success achieved to date reflects our long-standing experience, extensive knowledge in investment services and corporate broking, excellent reputation and track record, strong industry relationships and network, comprehensive suite of customisable services, and an ethos that prioritises long-term business relationships built on trust. We believe that these are the elements which altogether give us our identity and make us recognisable.
Malta is a stable economy and has all the required structures in place to welcome international investors. When it comes to the Malta Stock Exchange, the costs involved are comparatively attractive, and this is an advantage especially in an era of high inflation.
On the other hand, it is only fair to say that the Maltese capital market has its own challenges as well, the most obvious being the very low level of liquidity on the secondary market especially when compared to international markets. The reasons for this are various, including the general small size of the issues and the absence of any market-making mechanisms. Furthermore, most retail investors tend to adopt a ‘buy and hold’ investment philosophy, while substantial participation from sizeable institutional investors is lacking. Another plausible reason could be matters related to governance as although Malta has made important strides forward in this regard, the country may still need to take further steps to be on par with other jurisdictions.
Josef Cutajar is a seasoned financial analyst with a strong background in banking. Throughout his 20-year career, Josef established an extensive network with key market players and today is part of the Corporate Broking arm within MZ Investment Services Ltd. His work involves assisting companies seeking to raise capital on the Maltese capital market, as well as providing guidance on matters related to market research, investment analysis and valuation, transaction management, corporate governance and investor relations.