Malta: MFSA and FIAU issue guidelines to allay banks’ fears over fintech customers and AML/CFT problems

On 23 June, the Times of Malta reported that a 28-page guidance document has been issued jointly by the MFSA and the FIAU in a bid to ease the bottlenecks for fintech companies who find it impossible to open bank accounts – as the government’s dream of Malta becoming the ‘Blockchain Island’ was said to be being held back by operators’ frustration.  It is said that the document is designed to assist institutions to acquire a better risk understanding of any such prospective customers. It is said that the guidelines should be seen as a way to explain the sector-specific risks and to complement banks’ own due diligence procedures. It stresses the importance of the jurisdictions involved, adding that if the jurisdiction was “a high risk or non-reputable one”, the operator might find that risk of their regulatory status might increase through the association.  The document is mainly aimed at blockchain, virtual currencies and artificial intelligence sectors. MFSA also published its ‘Guidance Notes on Cybersecurity’ as a minimum set of best practices and risk management procedures to effectively mitigate cyber risks.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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