The Malta Independent on Sunday
Business promotion in New York and Boston
It is evident that opportunities to attract investment from the bullish US market to Malta are rich but need to be properly nurtured. The harvest is ripe for those who venture forth.
With the support of FinanceMalta, Bee Insurance Management and a line of international speakers, PKF participated in a promotional event to promote captives in New York last March. This event was one in a series of events to promote Malta as a domicile of choice. The NY event was well patronized and attracted a gathering of insurance consultants, risk managers and legal advisers in the field. It served as a catalyst to place Malta on the radar screen whenever risk managers are asked where to domicile in Europe post Brexit.
We are pleased that the event created interest from large captive managers the likes of AON, JLT Marsh and R&Q. In attendance were industry service providers providing technology solutions that included Verisk Insurance Solutions, Intralinks and Rante, apart from legal firms, investment managers, banking executives from Wells Fargo and Barclays, rating agencies and heads of state regulation in Delaware, as well as a well-informed audience. Tax experts from PKF office in New York explained in simple terms what it entails, how to survive Fatca and CRS – essentially what risk managers should look out for. The momentum generated by the first event, encouraged us to continue our efforts to promote Malta as a domicile of choice for European Captives.
It is important to maintain momentum and to do so PKF decided to participate in a sequel, the Captive Owners Summit organised by Captive Review in Essex Place – a prestigious conference centre in New York – on 31st October. The aim is to continue spreading the word about Malta’s unique benefits. The summit is a highly exclusive, educational and networking event for prospective captive owners from leading USbased companies. This event will provide investors with all the information needed for successfully setting up and running a captive in a one day of in-depth presentations, panel debates, case studies and round-table discussions.
As a closed gathering of prospective captive owners, there will also be plenty of time, space and privacy for networking with other professionals who share business goals and vision, via a series of formal and informal receptions and activities. Finance Malta being at the forefront to stimulate investment concurs that this initiative helps Malta remain a compelling proposition for prospective investors seeking to establish or extend their footprint in Europe. The New York Captive Owners Summit is a highly exclusive learning and networking event tailored for America’s leading captive owners.
Talking of networking, last year saw the final touches by EU insurers to convert their systems to comply with complex Solvency II rules. To help assess the level of preparedness for such novel regulation, a compliance survey was conducted by PKF last year. This was circulated among all local Maltese registered firms. The target population included all firms licensed by the MFSA in five categories: Insurance Principals (Insurers and Reinsurers), Affiliated Insurance Companies (Insurers and Reinsurers) and Protected Cell Companies (PCC), thus a total of 58 firms. Essentially, the general feel among the insurance companies was that the Solvency II regulation was deemed to be a significant improvement (91.67%) over Solvency I in maintaining the solvency and financial integrity of insurers or reinsurers.
Most of the firms also consider this regulation as “helpful” as it helps them maintain discipline and monitor risks. Another follow up measure to last year's survey, is to assess the ease of reporting by designing a QRT readiness questionnaire. One augurs that the risk-based approach of Solvency II will serve as a catalyst for risk managers overseeing that capital and the value allocation thereof is properly aligned to underwriting criteria. The internal model to assess solvency limits will eventually become part and parcel of the decision-making process, even going into specifics relating to classes of business written and feasibility thereof in terms of the group’s risk appetite.
In another initiative to attract US business in an exciting sector of Innovation and Research, a delegation from PKF advisory division has booked a second visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. This has been timed a few days after the conclusion of the Captive event in Essex Place. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) does not need any introduction. It is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States. In its innovative streak one finds that it adopted a European polytechnic university model and groups and as part of its diversity and its intensely creative atmosphere, the arts flourish in all their forms. MIT attracts some of the most talented students in the world. Students are frequently encouraged to bridge MIT's excellence with public service. This initiative follows a previous meeting held this year in conjunction with Malta Enterprise visiting MIT and a sister institution CIC to attract start-ups and innovators interested in joining the growing list of resident tenants at the cutting-edge Life Science Park located in San Gwann.
The government has endorsed this initiative taken by PKF as it wishes the island to become a centre of excellence in scientific breakthroughs and attract more bio technology and oncology clinical research and development. Readers who are familiar with MIT may conclude that if successful, this initiative will create a link to another educational milestone in Malta – The Sadeen American University at the Zonqor campus supported by the University of Chicago. Certainly, multiplicity of tertiary educational facilities is a step in the right direction to diversify our intellectual property, and in the short term we hope to attract medical students to attend Bart's medical school.
MIT is no stranger to accolades – it is rated as the world’s best university in chemistry; economics; linguistics; materials sciences; and physics and astronomy. Needless to say this impressive learning institution is the pride of the American intelligentsia and many countries are trying to emulate its success. MIT exceeds in other diverse disciplines such as accounting and finance, art and design, biological sciences, earth and marine sciences and mathematics. The lobby of inventors, researchers and venture capitalists closely follow announcements and papers presented by scholars at MIT and some of these end up being turned into economic success when taken on board by entrepreneurs to monetize such concepts.
One of the disciplines at MIT that mirrors the Malta government’s policy is that of research and development in oncology studies and bio technology sphere which is being actively promoted in Life Sciences Park at San Gwann. With the help of both Malta Enterprise and FinanceMalta one augurs that the Captive Insurance event and the CIC initiative will gain traction and attracts fruitful investment from New York.