BOV hosts Malta Mar­itime Fo­rum Progress Meet­ing

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Re­cently, mem­bers of the Malta Mar­itime Fo­rum (MMF) met at the Con­fer­ence Hall in BOV Cen­tre in Santa Ven­era for a progress up­date meet­ing.

Wel­com­ing the par­tic­i­pants, BOV Chief Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer Ken­neth Far­ru­gia ex­pressed the Bank’s sat­is­fac­tion in host­ing this first event since the sign­ing of the col­lab­o­ra­tion agree­ment with the MMF. “The Malta Mar­itime Fo­rum has an im­por­tant role to play in bring­ing all the stake­hold­ers to­gether in or­der to el­e­vate the vis­i­bil­ity of this in­dus­try, and we are proud to host this event which boasts a richly di­ver­si­fied pro­gramme.”

Mr Far­ru­gia ex­plained that over the years, the BOV Group has evolved from a credit in­sti­tu­tion to be­come a full-fledged fi­nan­cial ser­vices or­gan­i­sa­tion, pro­vid­ing spe­cialised ser­vices to sup­port stake­hold­ers in man­ag­ing both the credit and as­set side of their bal­ance sheet, as well as fa­cil­i­tat­ing their bank­ing re­quire­ments through the suite of dig­i­tal bank­ing chan­nels and prod­ucts. “We are highly pleased to be in a po­si­tion to ac­tively sup­port the MMF through the pro­vi­sion of sub­ject mat­ter ex­pert speak­ers from across our or­gan­i­sa­tion, who can pro­vide spe­cial­ist in­sight on ser­vice ar­eas within the Bank that are rel­e­vant to the mem­bers of the MMF.”

The man­age­ment of cor­po­rate port­fo­lios and pen­sions was the topic pre­sented by Steve El­lul, Head BOV As­set Man­age­ment. He ex­plained that this ser­vice has only re­cently been in­tro­duced, though BOV As­set Man­age­ment, now a fully-owned sub­sidiary of the BOV Group, has been suc­cess­fully man­ag­ing in­di­vid­ual port­fo­lios since 1994. Mr El­lul gave an over­view of how these port­fo­lios, aimed at in­sti­tu­tional clients hav­ing ex­cess liq­uid­ity and seek­ing to gen­er­ate higher re­turn with­out en­ter­ing into un­nec­es­sary risks, are man­aged by a ded­i­cated team on a day-to-day ba­sis in line with the man­date given by the re­spec­tive client.

Joe Bugeja, CEO of the MMF gave a progress re­port of the Fo­rum’s work over the pre­vi­ous four months. Among the high­lights men­tioned were the par­tic­i­pat­ing of the MMF rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the In­for­mal Min­is­te­rial Con­fer­ence Blue Growth, Ocean Gov­er­nance in the EU as well as the Mediter­ranean In­no­va­tion and Nau­ti­cal Tourism held in Valletta. MMF has also signed a col­lab­o­ra­tive agree­ment with MCAST that will see the ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Mal­tese mar­itime in­dus­try and MCAST grow­ing stronger. Mr Bugeja made ref­er­ence to the dis­cus­sions that are un­der­way be­tween MMF, Trans­port Malta and the Mediter­ranean Mar­itime Re­search and Train­ing Cen­tre with a view that MMF would be in a po­si­tion to launch a ded­i­cated course this Novem­ber.

Other speak­ers who in­ter­vened dur­ing the Fo­rum were Cap­tain David Bugeja, Chief Of­fi­cer of Ports and Yacht­ing Direc­torate within Trans­port Malta and Har­bour Mas­ter, who gave an up­date of Trans­port Malta’s func­tion and in­ter­ac­tions with the mar­itime com­mu­nity. Par­tic­u­lar ref­er­ence was made to the func­tion of the Port Author­ity and the role of Har­bour Mas­ter. Sonke Stein, CEO of Oil­tank­ing Malta gave an in­sight­ful over­view of oil stor­age and trad­ing within the Mediter­ranean re­gion, high­light­ing the chal­lenges ahead and fu­ture prospects of the in­dus­try in Malta. Dr John Re­falo from the Fed­er­a­tion of Mal­tese Aqua­cul­ture Pro­duc­ers dis­cussed dif­fer­ence as­pects of the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try in Malta, and the chal­lenges ly­ing ahead, in par­tic­u­lar vis-à-vis tuna farm­ing.

Joseph Chet­cuti, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Cus­toms Malta high­lighted how cus­toms pro­ce­dures may be fur­ther im­proved while the cruise in­dus­try in Malta and its prospects in the fu­ture formed the ba­sis of the pre­sen­ta­tion de­liv­ered by Mark Cauchi Gal­izia from Valletta Cruise Port.

In his con­clud­ing re­marks, MMF Chair­man Dr Joe Borg ex­pressed his sat­is­fac­tion at what the Fo­rum man­aged to achieve so far. He then out­lined the main ob­jec­tives of the MMF say­ing that, “It is im­por­tant to up­grade the stan­dards in ed­u­ca­tion of this in­dus­try. Where gaps have been iden­ti­fied, we are will­ing to pro­vide for them be­cause we firmly be­lieve that a bet­ter ed­u­cated and trained work­force means a stronger in­dus­try.” He also spoke about the im­por­tance that the stake­hold­ers speak with one voice, so that the Fo­rum is able to present a com­mon po­si­tion en­dorsed by ev­ery­one to au­thor­i­ties. Dr Borg em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of co­op­er­at­ing closely with au­thor­i­ties and in­sti­tu­tions, many of which they have al­ready signed mem­o­randa of un­der­stand­ing with them. “Now the chal­lenge is to give life to this mem­o­randa, and for this we seek the ac­tive in­volve­ment of our mem­bers,” he said. Fi­nally Dr Borg stressed that MMF is work­ing hard to build a strong in­ter­na­tional pres­ence. “Our sec­tor is by na­ture in­ter­na­tional, and we need to move a pari pas­sum with our coun­ter­parts abroad, thus en­sur­ing a stronger po­si­tion.”

M Ken­neth Far­ru­gia at MMF

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