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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.
apanese electronics giant, Panasonic, has acquired the majority stake, 90% of the shares, in the Turkish electrical equipment manufacturer, VIKO.- Paksoy
Stamford Law advises Goodland Group Limited on its acquisition of land in Malaysia valued at approximately RM547.8 million slated for development as commercial and residential properties through the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Citrine Assets Pte. Ltd.
Stamford Law acted as Singapore counsel to Magicapital Fund L.P. in relation to Magicapital's investment in Novel Food Manufacturing Co Pte. Ltd.
Stamford Law is advising SGX-listed Giken Sakata (S) Limited on: (i) its proposed acquisition of a majority stake in Cepu Sakti Energy Pte. Ltd. for an aggregate consideration of up to S$48 million; and (ii) its proposed diversification into the oil and gas services sector.
We are pleased to announce that the Firm has won 3 awards at the ALB Southeast Asia Law Awards 2014. The firm took home the SE Asia M&A Deal of the Year, Singapore M&A Deal of the Year and the SE Asia Deal of the Year awards. The winning transaction for all three awards was the highly watched takeover of Fraser & Neave, Limited ( F&N ), in which the firm acted for F&N. Congratulations to the team!
On 14 April 2014, it was announced that Sound Investment Holdings Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of CapitaLand Limited, intended to make a voluntary conditional offer to acquire all the remaining shares in CapitaMalls Asia Limited ( CMA ), CapitaLand's 65.3% subsidiary, for S$2.22 per share. The offer was increased to S$2.35 per share on 16 May 2014, valuing CMA at S$9.16 billion.
In January this year, Sun Hung Kai International Limited ( SHKI ) was publicly reprimanded and fined HK$12 million by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong ( SFC ) for poor due diligence practices and failing to maintain adequate records in its role as a sponsor in the listing of Sino-Life Group Limited ( Sino-Life ) on the Growth Enterprise Market of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited ( GEM ). In addition, SHKI’s licence to advise on corporate finance was suspended for one year. Amongst others, SHKI had failed to disclose and explain a 45% difference between the respective cash flow figures reported by two accounting firms, a difference which was regarded as material as it impacted on whether Sino-Life satisfied the listing requirement for positive operating cash flow. On appeal to the Securities and Futures Appeal Tribunal ( Tribunal ), the Tribunal affirmed the SFC’s decision and laid down several principles in relation to the duties of sponsors in initial public offerings ( IPOs ). Given the substantial overlap between these principles, and the legislation and guidelines governing such duties in Singapore, this decision should be of particular interest to IPO managers in Singapore.
When is a restraint of trade clause enforceable? The High Court has issued a timely reminder in the case of Lek Gwee Noi v Humming Flowers & Gifts Pte Ltd  ( Lek Gwee Noi ) that the enforceability of restraint of trade clauses in employee contracts remains a fact-specific inquiry into the reasonableness of the clause, given the unique circumstances of each employee. It is not an exercise of simply using sample and past boilerplate clauses which may appear reasonable in a different circumstance.
Stamford Law advised TalkMed Group Limited in relation to its initial public offering and listing on the Catalist board of the SGX-ST to raise proceeds of approximately S$21 million by way of a placement of 105,143,000 new shares at the issue price of S$0.20 each.
Stamford Law is advising on the S$285 million acquisition of Scott and English Energy Pte. Ltd. by SGX Mainboard-listed Swissco Holdings Limited, a leading marine service provider for the offshore oil and gas industry. Scott and English is in the business of owning and leasing mobile offshore drilling units and service rigs for exploration and production activities.