ifs Malta organises successful Annual Dinner
This year’s ifs Malta annual dinner - a well-established and expected event in the calendar of bankers and financial services practitioners in Malta was held on Friday18 November at the Hilton Malta.
As is now customary, attendees were addressed by ifs Malta President, the Governor of the Central Bank of Malta and the Minister for Finance.
ifs Malta President, Kenneth Micallef, who presided over the event highlighted the Institute’s main achievements during the year and explained how the Institute, just like financial services organisations, had to adapt to the challenges and new realities of the financial services sector. He explained that, to remain relevant, the Institute sought to form and maintain various strategic partnerships with the University of Malta and international professional bodies, including the London Institute of Banking and Finance, the European Banking & Financial Services Training Association, the Chartered Banker Institute, European Federation of Financial Analysts Societies, and the Global Association of Risk Professionals. In conclusion, Mr Micallef thanked all Committee members, the ifs staff and all stakeholders for their contribution and support towards the Institute’s sustained success.
In his first address at this event, the newly appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Malta and member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, Dr Mario Vella, commended ifs Malta on its various achievements throughout the year and for taking a proactive stance towards raising the professional standards of financial services education. Governor Vella noted the successful cooperation between the Central Bank and the Institute, making specific reference to the ifs Annual Seminar held earlier this year, which continued the debate on local pension reform and to the activities of European Money Week to promote financial literacy. He looked forward to even more cooperation in the future.
Governor Vella proceeded to give a detailed analysis of Malta’s recent robust economic performance against a backdrop of weak growth in Europe as a whole. He delved into the conditions that have made this performance possible, namely ECB’s accommodative monetary policy stance, strong government spending, potential output, and having a sound and stable financial system. Going forward, economic growth is expected to moderate, however, still remain well above the euro area average. Downside risks relate mostly to external factors as Malta has an open economy together with possible inflation and wage pressures. He also highlighted some challenges that need to be monitored to ensure the economy expands at a sustainable pace before proposing policy recommendations to sustain economic growth and provide a higher standard of living and confidence for the future.
The final address of the evening was delivered by the Minister for Finance, Professor Edward Scicluna, who thanked ifs Malta for its ongoing endeavours in promoting financial services education locally. Minister Scicluna stated that the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union opens up a window of opportunity, as it will generate a lot of interest to better understand Malta’s economy, its history and its people. This is, therefore, a unique opportunity for the Government and entities such as ifs Malta to make themselves better known. During Malta’s presidency, the main files under its responsibility that need to be tackled are those regarding taxation, banking and financial markets.
Minister Scicluna highlighted the good performance of various economic sectors, including the financial services sector. He noted the recent upgrading of Malta’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, its success at cutting both its debt and deficit in a gradual manner and the way the budget for 2017 has been deemed broadly compliant by the European Commission, as factors the Maltese should be proud of. Minister Scicluna also spoke at length about the phenomenon of de-risking by international banks which is affecting trade within the Mediterranean region.
The successful event was very well-attended with a high profile attendance from the main financial services organisations and representatives of the wider economy.
(left to right): ifs Malta President Kenneth B. Micallef, Governor of the Central Bank of Malta, Dr Mario Vella, Minister for Finance, Professor Edward Scicluna, and ifs Malta Vice President, Peter Calleya.