Over the past couple of years, particularly while Malta was on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list and following delisting, the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) sat down with the rest of the major national stakeholders to seek a veritable shift in the way things are done in the financial services industry and beyond.
Maria Cauchi Delia – MIA CEO
Mark Bugeja – MIA President
Is Malta where it should be?
While the exit from the grey list earned the nation a quick respite, the speed of change in the world around us necessitates a shift towards a new economic paradigm. It is imperative that we look beyond specific economic niches and embrace a fresh perspective that prioritises quality and elevates the brand of our nation. This transformation is not only an opportunity but also a necessity to secure our future prosperity. By placing greater emphasis on quality, we can distinguish ourselves in the international arena, positioning our jurisdiction as a beacon of excellence and reliability. This approach is particularly critical in attracting Foreign Direct Investment, as investors seek stable and high-quality environments to deploy their capital. A renewed focus on our national brand, characterised by integrity, innovation, and sustainability, will undoubtedly serve as a magnet for foreign investors.
Where does the Malta Institute of Accountants fit in all this?
In this context, the MIA is very proactive. It forms an integral part of the Malta Financial Services Advisory Council (MFSAC), which is responsible for the development of the Malta Financial Services strategy. It also puts forward several proposals and takes a proactive role in various initiatives impacting the accountancy profession and the competitiveness and attractiveness of our jurisdiction. Input is provided in various forms, whether through meetings with relevant stakeholders, written proposals or as a response to consultations issued by local or international authorities. At the centre of these proposals, we see the twin transition of digitalisation and sustainability as key to Malta’s economic development in the years ahead.
Embracing digitalisation will allow the jurisdiction to remain competitive in the global marketplace, enhance public services, and foster a thriving digital economy. Moreover, sustainable transformation is essential to address pressing environmental challenges, ensuring the responsible use of resources, reducing carbon footprints, and mitigating the impacts of climate change. By prioritising sustainability, we can improve quality of life, and create a resilient future for generations to come.
In the area of sustainable finance, we are building upon the knowledge, skills and experience of the members of the accountancy profession, together with discussions and exchanges with our European and international counterparts. In fact, the MIA is trying to actively support stakeholders at all levels, from authorities, who need to implement the necessary regulatory changes, to professionals and the wider industry.
Our goal is to ensure that, through discussions with government bodies and other stakeholders, European directives are transposed in a manner that serves the country most effectively. Concurrently, we will continue to see to the needs of the profession and to support industry in preparing for the changes that these are bringing about.
Do we, as a nation, have all it takes to make this happen?
To make all this work, the availability of the right competent people is fundamental. As an Institute, we have a leading part in the area of education and resources within the MFSAC’s financial services strategy. We also have our own team focusing on education-related initiatives and the attractiveness of the accounting profession. Our endeavours are focused on securing Malta’s ability to autonomously fulfil the human resource demands of this industry.
We advocate that moving forward, the need for foreign talent in a value-adding sector, such as the financial services industry, is a must. This is due to the fact that Malta has an ageing population and growing competition for the very limited human resources available. Additionally, new skill sets and mindsets are required to ensure that we are leaders in particular specialist areas. A consolidated effort needs to be made so that the right resources are channelled to those areas which are deemed of importance to our economy over the coming years. We will continue to propose incentives that position Malta competitively in terms of both attracting and retaining skilled local and foreign professionals who possess the necessary expertise and add value to the Maltese economy. If access to human resources for the financial services sector in Malta is somehow contained, there will be negative repercussions across the different industries and on the overall Maltese economy.
What is the way forward?
It is time to seize this opportunity for reinvention and set our sights on a future where quality and our national brand take centre stage in creating opportunities, making sure that the required resources are available and attracting investment that will foster sustainable growth and prosperity for all.
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