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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.
On September 25, 2014, the VEGAS LEX law firm, the VEB Innovations Fund and the Innovation and R&D Directors Club (IR&D club), organized a roundtable conference, Corporation - Startup: Reaching for Mutually Beneficial Cooperation . The event was supported by Russian Venture Company.
On September 18, 2014, the Federal Road Agency (Rosavrodor) Board met in Sochi before the Sochi-2014 International Investment Forum. The VEGAS LEX experts attended the meeting.
On 12 September 2014, AstapovLawyers has held a Compliance Workshop for employees of Energoatom, a national nuclear energy generating company.
AstapovLawyers has successfully represented Delta Bank, one of the major Ukrainian banks, in a USD 71 million dispute against a Ukrainian tycoon, an owner of a significant agricultural group of companies in Ukraine.
Kyiv, 23 September 2014 - Ivan Lishchyna , Counsel, has taken part in the conference and students seminar "The relationship between alternative dispute resolution and ordinary courts: New trends in the Ukraine, Germany, Poland and other countries" organized in terms of collaboration with Institute for Eastern European Law, Munich. The event took place in the Institute of Legislation of the Verchovna Rada of Ukraine on September 8 - 10, 2014.
This briefing is intended to provide a general overview of some of the issues to be considered by trustees of Guernsey trusts and their advisers when foreign couples connected with the trust divorce.
In January 2014 - July 2014 Zavadetskyi Advocates advised and represented a Canadian citizen who had been imprisoned in Ukraine for serious crime and criminal investigation against whom raised many questions as to its integrity and impartiality. Along with their client, Zavadetskyi Advocates also advised a US charitable institution that provides social services internationally to people in crisis situations. The client has been released from the sentence several years before time and was able to leave Ukraine.
As one of the leading global jurisdictions for structuring foreign direct investment (FDI), Luxembourg has developed a sophisticated framework to enable the financing of such investments.
Azmi & Associates recently advised Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (‘FGVH') in a corporate transaction via its subsidiary, Felda Global Ventures Downstream Sdn. Bhd. (‘FGVD') in a joint venture agreement involving two other parties namely M2 Capital Sdn Bhd. (‘M2 Capital') and Benefuel International Holdings S.A.R.L. (‘Benefuel') which is a subsidiary of Benefuel US, through which an SPV will be incorporated to acquire a biodiesel plant. The JV company has agreed to acquire a biodiesel plant ("Plant") located at Gebeng, in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia from Mission Biofuels Sdn. Bhd. (‘MBSB') for a USD twenty two million and five hundred thousand (USD 22,500,000.00) (‘Plant Acquisition') under a Plant Purchase Agreement. The shareholding of FGVD, M2 Capital and Benefuel in the JV Company shall be 60% for FGVD, 20% for M2 Capital and 20% for Benefuel. The estimated project cost for the proposed joint venture including the Plant Acquisition, licensing costs, purchase of catalyst, refurbishment and retrofit shall be USD forty seven million and five hundred thousand (USD 47,500,000.00). The nature of business of the JV Company shall be manufacturing and producing biodiesel using the retrofitted Plant and other ancillary activities.