IFS Malta con­trib­utes to study on In­ter­na­tional Com­par­i­son of In­vest­ment Qual­i­fi­ca­tions

Malta Independent - - BUSINESS & FINANCE -

The fu­ture’s look­ing bright for Malta. With an­nual growth pre­dicted at three per cent un­til 2019 and the re­cent up­grade of its credit rat­ing to A- by Stan­dard & Poor’s, Malta has ce­mented its place as one of the top re­gional des­ti­na­tions for fi­nan­cial ser­vices, iGam­ing, tourism, and high-end man­u­fac­tur­ing. There has never been a more ex­cit­ing time to be an accountant and, not sur­pris­ingly, the na­tion’s econ­omy took cen­tre stage at the Malta In­sti­tute of Ac­coun­tants (MIA) New Mem­bers’ Cer­e­mony, which was held last month at the Mediter­ranean Con­fer­ence Cen­tre (MCC) in Val­letta.

With 1,000 guests fill­ing the Repub­lic Hall, MIA pres­i­dent, Franco Az­zopardi wel­comed 211 new mem­bers join­ing the ranks of Malta’s ac­coun­tancy pro­fes­sion­als. “As Malta’s largest pro­fes­sional body, MIA rep­re­sents some 3,000 ac­coun­tants, while sup­port­ing the for­ma­tion of 1,800 stu­dents,” Mr Az­zopardi said.

Present at the cer­e­mony were rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Char­tered Cer­ti­fied Ac­coun­tants, The Univer­sity of IFS Malta was one of the con­trib­u­tors to a new study pub­lished re­cently which com­pares Euro­pean in­vest­ment qual­i­fi­ca­tion schemes in terms of their or­gan­i­sa­tion, struc­ture, and con­form­ity with the re­quire­ments of the Mar­kets in Fi­nan­cial In­stru­ments Di­rec­tive (MiFID II).

The MiFID II seeks to fa­cil­i­tate the mi­gra­tion of the Euro­pean reg­u­la­tory land­scape from a prin­ci­ples-based phi­los­o­phy to­ward a more US-style rules­based reg­u­la­tory regime. One of its ob­jec­tives is to im­prove in­vestor pro­tec­tion by har­mon­is­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions on an in­ter­na­tional level. IFS Malta was able to par­tic­i­pate in this ini­tia­tive through its mem­ber­ship in the Euro­pean Bank­ing & Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Train­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (EBTN).

The aim of the In­ter­na­tional Com­par­i­son of In­vest­ment Qual­i­fi­ca­tions was to form an over­all picture of how the com­pe­ten­cies re­quired of per­son­nel pro­vid­ing in­vest­ment ad­vice are reg­u­lated and self-reg­u­lated in Europe. Par­tic­u­lar fo­cus was on in­vest­ment ser­vice qual­i­fi­ca­tions and Malta and the In­sti­tute of Char­tered Ac­coun­tants in Eng­land and Wales, which are the three main routes to mem­ber­ship with the MIA.

With in­creased for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment and a flour­ish­ing ser­vices sec­tor, Malta needs to sub­stan­tially in­crease the num­ber of new ac­coun­tancy grad­u­ates their dif­fer­ent forms. A key ele­ment in im­prov­ing con­sumer pro­tec­tion is en­sur­ing that the per­son­nel who pro­vide in­vest­ment ser­vices have suf­fi­cient lev­els of knowl­edge and com­pe­tence.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the MiFID II pack­age will give in­vest­ment qual­i­fi­ca­tions more weight in the reg­u­la­tory frame­work. The as­sess­ment of the knowl­edge and com­pe­tence of peo­ple em­ployed in cer­tain tasks has been part of national self-reg­u­la­tion, and has not been pre­vi­ously re­quired by any EU leg­is­la­tion. In the fu­ture, a higher level of knowl­edge and com­pe­tence will be re­quired from per­son­nel that give in­vest­ment ad­vice than from per­son­nel that only give in­for­ma­tion on in­vest­ment prod­ucts and ser­vices. The dead­line of MiFID II im­ple­men­ta­tion each year in or­der to sus­tain its growth. Over the last few years, Malta has had to draft in over a hun­dred for­eign ac­coun­tants an­nu­ally in or­der to meet the lo­cal mar­ket’s de­mands.

While lo­cal ac­coun­tants are highly sought af­ter, it is im­por­tant that the re­quire­ment for a strong moral and eth­i­cal dis­po­si­tion is Jan­uary 2018.

IFS Malta Vice Pres­i­dent and EBTN Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee and Board mem­ber Peter Cal­leya said: “This is a very in­ter­est­ing study which as­sesses dif­fer­ent in­vest­ment qual­i­fi­ca­tions across Europe in the light of MiFID II re­quire­ments. Par­tic­i­pat­ing di­rectly in this study was very use­ful and ben­e­fi­cial for IFS Malta as cur­rently we are proac­tively work­ing to raise the stan­dards in the area of in­vest­ment qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the ben­e­fit of the Mal­tese fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor and so­ci­ety in gen­eral.”

The study was com­mis­sioned by the Fed­er­a­tion of Fin­nish Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices and APV In­vest­ment Ex­am­i­na­tions Ltd. The in­for­ma­tion was col­lected qual­i­ta­tively through a ques­tion­naire from mem­bers of EBTN, from in­ter­views, and from pub­lic in­ter­net sources. The sam­ple in­cluded 16 coun­tries.

The full study is avail­able on the IFS Malta web­site at www.if­s­malta.org is not pushed aside. Quan­tity and qual­ity are syn­ony­mous and should go hand in hand – a sen­ti­ment that was echoed in the speech of guest speaker and for­mer MIA pres­i­dent, Fred­er­ick Mif­sud Bon­nici, who was rep­re­sent­ing the In­sti­tute of Char­tered Ac­coun­tants in Eng­land and Wales.

Also speak­ing at the event was Joseph N. Tabone, who was ap­pointed MIA’s sec­ond pres­i­dent soon af­ter Malta’s in­de­pen­dence from Great Bri­tain. He went on to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in strength­en­ing MIA’s cur­rent in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tions, hav­ing been among the first of­fi­cials in 1973 to hold meet­ings with the then-pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Cer­ti­fied Ac­coun­tants in Lon­don, now known as As­so­ci­a­tion of Char­tered Cer­ti­fied Ac­coun­tants (ACCA). Thanks to th­ese early ini­tia­tives, Mal­tese stu­dents are to­day el­i­gi­ble to qual­ify for the MIA and ACCA ex­am­i­na­tions, sub­ject to coun­try-spe­cific reg­u­la­tions.

Liz Hughes, the ACCA head of Main­land Europe and Ire­land, also ad­dressed the event. ACCA, she stated, sup­ported some 188,000 mem­bers and 480,000 stu­dents in 178 coun­tries, and this global reach helps Mal­tese ac­coun­tants to de­velop suc­cess­ful ca­reers both lo­cally and over­seas. The need for con­ver­gence be­tween the main busi­ness ed­u­ca­tion sources has be­come more cru­cial than ever. This point was raised by Prof. Frank Bezzina, the Dean for the Fac­ulty of Eco­nom­ics, Man­age­ment and Ac­coun­tancy at the Univer­sity of Malta – the lead­ing source for ter­tiary ac­coun­tancy ed­u­ca­tion on the is­land, pro­duc­ing some 100 ac­coun­tancy grad­u­ates an­nu­ally. Prof. Bezzina ap­pealed to all stake­hold­ers in the field to work closer to­gether in their ef­forts to strengthen the ap­peal and val­ues of this sec­tor. The lat­ter point was also brought up by Franco Az­zopardi, who said that in spite of the 10 per cent growth in MIA mem­ber­ship in 2015, more ef­forts were needed to fur­ther pro­mote the ac­coun­tancy pro­fes­sion on the is­land. As part of its on-go­ing ef­forts to achieve this aim, MIA has broad­ened its com­mu­ni­ca­tions ef­forts sig­nif­i­cantly, tar­get­ing not only the pro­fes­sion and its mem­bers, but the pub­lic-at-large, in­clud­ing stu­dents, the busi­ness com­mu­nity and even other NGOs. Dur­ing the last 12 months, MIA has em­barked on an ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing drive, mak­ing use of tra­di­tional me­dia chan­nels such as the press, but also through email mar­ket­ing and so­cial me­dia – with daily up­dates on the In­sti­tute’s newly set-up Face­book, LinkedIn, Twit­ter and G+ pages, reach­ing well over 300,000 peo­ple in a just a few months.

The 211 new MIA mem­bers

MIA pres­i­dent Franco Az­zopardi with for­mer pres­i­dent Joseph N Tabone

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.