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Legal market overview
As Europe continues to be buffeted by the after-effects of sovereign debt crises and increased financial services regulatory scrutiny, Malta is comparatively tranquil. Its efforts to create a thriving financial services industry continue to yield results, and the struggles of jurisdictions such as Cyprus are encouraging businesses to turn to Malta as a comparatively secure, tax-friendly system. In addition, the market is parlaying its established track record as a go-to jurisdiction for ship registration into establishing itself as a hub for aircraft registration, particularly in the private jet sector. The new Aviation section reflects this development. Investment funds practices are covered in the Banking, finance and capital markets section.
Law firms with full-service offerings have been the biggest beneficiaries of this growth in work. Indeed, the nature of the marketplace is such that generalist practices continue to dominate. Ganado Advocates, GVTH Advocates, Mamo TCV Advocates, Camilleri Preziosi and Fenech & Fenech Advocates are among the standout firms providing clients with full-service capabilities. The maritime and aviation sectors are two areas where niche practices can thrive, with Dingli & Dingli Law Firm being particularly noteworthy in the former. Although law firm mergers and lateral moves are rare in this stable market, Hugh Peralta & Associates merged with Iuris Malta Advocates in 2013.
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As the first jurisdiction in the European Union (EU) that introduced regulated remote gaming, with an average of a hundred new applications a year and being the largest EU i-gaming jurisdiction, Malta's success in the i-gaming arena is undisputed. That said, whilst Malta's history, sun and sea might be a good reason for tourists to come to the island, they are surely complementary but not the sole reasons to attract prospective i-gaming operators. Indeed, to the i-gaming world, Malta represents more than that.
With the transposition of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (" AIFMD ") in the offing, analysis on the transformation and legal implications of such on the role of the Depositary as a key and core service provider to Alternative Investment Funds (" AIFs ") is significant, given the central function and responsibility this position was conferred within this industry.
Investment advice a kind of investment service which may be provided by an investment service provider licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) under the Investment Services Act (ISA). With the exception of a category 4 licence holder.
The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive ("AIFMD" or "the Directive") has been in discussion since its announcement in April of 2009, but the detail of its implementation has, until fairly recently, been somewhat unclear. However, following the issuing of a number of consultation documents and other instruments there is now far more clarity on the subject. This article will seek to provide an overview of the various instruments by means of which the Directive is to be introduced into Maltese law and will also briefly touch upon the effect that these changes will have on the structure of Maltese funds legislation.
Malta has experienced consistent growth in the funds sector since the jurisdiction's accession to the EU in 2004, such that today it is legitimate to consider the country as a mature, well-established domicile rather than an emerging one. In fact the jurisdiction now hosts around 500 funds pursuing a variety of strategies, as well as a complete ecosystem of support services providers such as fund administrators, law firms and audit firms. The sector has now evolved to the point where managers are not just using the country as a domicile for funds, but are also increasingly looking at the jurisdiction as a domicile for their fund management operations.
Starting circa the beginning of 2010, Malta has seen increasing interest in the Forex sector, an industry which only a handful of years ago was practically non-existent. Different kinds of forex operators, ranging from introducing brokers all the way through to fund managers focusing on forex as an asset class and fully fledged market makers have chosen Malta as their European base of operations. Various authorisations have already been issued by the Malta Financial Services Authority (The MFSA) to such operations, and with many other applications pending before the regulator, additional growth appears to be a certainty in the forthcoming months. In fact, there are already clear clues that forex is set to become, alongside stalwarts such as hedge funds and insurance captives, an important pillar of the Maltese financial services offering.
Recent amendments to the Financial Institutions Act (Chapter 376 of the Laws of Malta) (the “Act”) have effectively brought the regulation of EMIs in Malta.
Introduction – Malta’s Taxable Base Persons ordinarily resident and domiciled in Malta (including companies incorporated in Malta) are chargeable to tax in Malta on a worldwide basis in terms of the Income Tax Act.
Shortly after the signing of a USD 2.5 billion investment loan agreement, KGHM Polska Miedź announces the completion of another major financing project.
IKB Leasing GmbH (IKBL) has securitized a portfolio of lease receivables via German Mittelstand Equipment Financing SA (GMEF). The European Investment Bank (EIB) was one of the investors in the senior Class A Notes issued by GMEF.
Schoenherr, a leading law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, advised Laakman Holding Limited on the increase of their participation in the listed fund company C-QUADRAT Investment AG from 9.4 % to 18.4 %. read more...
Zavadetskyi Advocates advised a US private equity fund regarding USD 110 million divestiture from Ukrainian commercial real estate project.
Vienna, 28 July 2014. Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners (fwp) advises UniCredit Bank Austria AG on acquiring Immobilien Holding GmbH, which until now was wholly owned by Immobilien Privatstiftung.
AstapovLawyers International Law Group has provided corporate tax consulting and legal advisory to the joint stock oil company Bashneft, one of the Russia's largest integrated oil companies, due to its contemplated expansion into new market in the Southeast Europe.
On 6 June 2014, draft primary legislation to provide the Jersey Financial Services Commission with the power to impose civil financial penalties for material contraventions of the Codes of Practice and the AML/CFT Handbook was published.- Ogier
On 24 July 2014, Wild Bunch S.A. and the listed Senator AG announced their intention to merge into a European independent film distribution company. Wild Bunch is an important player in the field of international film sales and electronic distribution with a Europe-wide network in France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Senator AG is a German film productions and distribution company producing and distributing German and international movies since the 1970s.
Hengeler Mueller has successfully reached a temporary suspension of the prohibition order of the city of Hamburg against Uber, a provider for a smartphone-app for on-demand transportation services. Uber may thus continue providing its services in Hamburg until further notice.