An­nounce the ac­qui­si­tion at the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice?

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

is­ter for tax rea­sons. In that same trip the Mal­tese del­e­ga­tion in­vited us to visit Malta and a few months later I led a del­e­ga­tion and came to Malta. Dur­ing our visit we were in dis­cus­sions with the Malta Cham­ber of Com­merce and Malta En­ter­prise, and they showed us var­i­ous fields which we were in­ter­ested to in­vest in. Dur­ing the same meet­ing we asked them if there was a bank for sale and they gave us a pic­ture of what the bank­ing scene in Malta is. From that point on we asked our team in Doha to start study­ing the bank­ing sec­tor in Malta.

Dur­ing the press con­fer­ence the Prime Min­is­ter thanked his Chief of Staff Keith Schem­bri. What ex­actly was his role?

If it wasn’t for his Mr Schem­bri we would not be here. When Dr Muscat came to Qatar he asked Mr Schem­bri to fol­low it up with us and ad­vise us on what sec­tors we should cover. It was Mr Schem­bri him­self that or­gan­ised the meet­ings with the Malta Cham­ber of Com­merce and Malta En­ter­prise. But to make things clear, the trans­ac­tions were con­ducted be­tween Al Faisal In­vest­ment and Banif Por­tuguese. I also want to stress that all the meet­ings were held in Por­tu­gal and no one from Malta was present.

Do you have MFSA clear­ance to op­er­ate in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in Malta? When did you ap­ply to MFSA?

Yes we do. It started with a bid­ding process by Banif Por­tu­gal in 2015 and when the en­tire process was done we were cho­sen as the pre­ferred bid­der. Af­ter that we started the reg­u­lat­ing pro­cesses with MFSA and ap­proval from the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank. This is a very rigid process which took months and now we have ev­ery­thing in place.

Banks are sys­tem­i­cally im­por­tant for the econ­omy of a county. So for a gov­ern­ment this is an im­por­tant trans­ac­tion be­cause this prob­lem had to be re­solved one way or the other ir­re­spec­tive of who the share­hold­ers are For us as in­vestors it was im­por­tant to see that we have the full sup­port of the gov­ern­ment and the Malta Cham­ber of Com­merce. on the in­ter­na­tional map and be recog­nised in­ter­na­tion­ally.

So far Banif has been a com­mu­nity bank; how­ever the new share­hold­ers, Al Faisal Hold­ings, have said that the in­ten­tion is to go into pri­vate bank­ing. How are you go­ing to tar­get th­ese high net worth in­di­vid­u­als?

We in­tend to grow our ex­ist­ing busi­ness with the lo­cal com­mu­nity and in­crease mar­ket share lo­cally be­cause it is very im­por­tant for us. But on top of that there are a num­ber of other things we can bring to the bank be­cause of Malta’s ge­o­graph­i­cal po­si­tion, the safe ju­ris­dic­tion it of­fers and the knowl­edge it of­fers in the fi­nan­cial sec­tor. All this will help us tar­get high net worth in­di­vid­u­als be­cause of the at­trac­tive fea­tures it of­fers. One of our in­ten­tions is to tar­get in­vest­ment and en­trepreneurs from the Mid­dle East re­gion and our bank can play an im­por­tant role.

You said that you have fur­ther in­ten­tions to in­vest more in Malta? What kind of in­vest­ment are you look­ing at?

There are mainly four ar­eas we are look­ing at – hospitality, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, man­u­fac­tur­ing and ed­u­ca­tion. Since we have var­i­ous part­ners and in­vest­ments around the world and Malta has a good re­la­tion­ship with all the coun­tries, we feel that this is an op­por­tu­nity to get busi­ness to Malta.

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