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Legal market overview

Malta’s reputation as a tax-efficient and commercially viable destination for business is longstanding, and has been augmented in recent years by positive financial services and redomiciliation legislation. The country’s favourable regulatory regime and its adoption of the euro in 2008 have made it a natural choice for a range of investment vehicles, especially hedge funds and UCITS (undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities), seeking to take advantage of the beneficial passporting rights and investor protection that Maltese registration offers. Accordingly, in a market where transactional and capital markets activity are relatively stagnant, funds capability is a core requirement for any Maltese firm with significant banking and finance capability and, for some smaller players, forms the overwhelming majority of their practice. Firms’ investment funds capability is included in the Banking, finance and capital markets editorial. Legislation has also made Malta a destination for aviation finance.

Commercial property developments such as SmartCity are another barometer of the country’s attractiveness to foreign investors, its high-quality infrastructure and highly educated workforce making it a natural choice for redomiciliation as well as branch office openings which, in turn, creates a steady pipeline of work for law firms.

There is a healthy mix of long-established firms – such as Fenech & Fenech Advocates, Ganado Advocates and Mamo TCV Advocates (the first of these in particular is singled out by clients and peers) – with reputations based on sizeable partner-level strength as well as longstanding presence; and newer, younger firms, often with strong IP, technology and gaming (the last of these being the fastest-growing industry in Malta) practices – Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates and WH Partners being standout examples.

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Legal Developments in Malta

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • AIFMD Passport – Extension Denied to the US, Hong Kong and Singapore

    The AIFMD passport is currently only available to EU AIFMs and EU AIFs. However, AIFMD makes provision for access to the passport rights to be possibly extended to non-EU entities at a future date. Although the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) just recommended this extension to managers and funds established in Jersey, Guernsey and, potentially, Switzerland, investment manager and funds set up in the US, Hong Kong and Singapore will not be granted the same right at the present time.
  • Malta: A Hub for e-Commerce, Digital Games & Online Gambling in Europe

    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 e- commerce  and  gaming  operators to Malta. Indeed, to the  gaming  and e- commerce  world, Malta represents more than that. 
  • Core Maltese Legal Concepts for Banks and other Money Lenders

    Over the years Malta has evolved from a traditional, debtor friendly civil law jurisdiction into an increasingly financier friendly jurisdiction that offer many of the flexibilities typically associated with common law jurisdictions. These developments have been spurred by (and have spurred) the growth of the aviation and maritime industries in Malta, as well as the country’s emergence as a reputable financial services centre. This article provides an overview of the core Maltese legal concepts which are of interest to banks and other financial institutions lending money in or from Malta.
  • Malta Emerges as a Stronger Fund Domicile After AIFMD

    It is fair to say that AIFMD was not very well received by the Maltese burgeoning industry when it was first announced in April 2009. The initial draft appeared to have been drafted hastily and did not take into account certain characteristics of the local regulatory regime (such as the availability of self-managed fund structures) leading many to speculate that the Directive could disrupt the growth of the Maltese funds industry.Another issue that arose during regulatory gestation of the directive was the requirement for full scope AIFMs to appoint a single depositary for each AIF it manages, in the jurisdiction where the AIF is domiciled; a requirement which, due to the, at the time, limited depositary infrastructure could also have dampened growth.

    Old Regime for Malta’s Taxation from Immovable property
  • Malta's New Tax Incentives targeting Valuable Human Power

    An Eye for Innovation, Creativity & Excellence
  • I-Gaming in Malta: Reliable Laws, Fiscal Advantages, Stable Environment

    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.
  • Maltese Depositary Liability Post-AIFMD

    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. 
  • An Analysis of the Definition of Investment Advice under Maltese Law

    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.
  • Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) Implementation Takes Shape in Malta

    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.  

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