Companies seeking to procure an EMI licence in Malta must adhere to stringent regulatory prerequisites instituted by the main Malta's regulator — MFSA. These include evidencing adequate financial stability, retaining sufficient authorised share capital, and engaging suitably qualified management personnel.
Notwithstanding the complexities of the licensing process, securing Maltese EMI certification confers several advantages. Principally, it empowers licence-holders to render electronic money services across the European Union by harnessing the passporting rights bestowed by the certification mechanism. Moreover, Malta's reputation as a pioneering fintech hub furnishes promising ventures with a supportive ecosystem. Lastly, the jurisdiction offers corporates operational continuity via its stable and well-regulated business environment.
Malta constitutes an appealing licensing destination due to its balanced regulatory framework, pro-business conditions and access to the vast EU single market. Let's analyse what procedural path lies ahead and what difficulties enterprises planning to obtain an EMI licence in Malta must overcome.
Prerequisites for securing an EMI licence in Malta
Share capital requirements
To satisfy Malta's EMI certification criteria, applicants must evidence share capital of at least €350,000. This functions as a safeguard of the institution's financial viability and integrity in dispensing electronic money services. Consequently, businesses should strategize to ascertain adequate capital levels that enable effective risk management and full compliance.
Moreover, corporations must substantiate the provenance of funds to certify legitimacy per financial regulations. This necessitates furnishing detailed documentation covering the capital's origins throughout the vetting process.
The share capital payment protocols are equally stringent. Companies must not solely deposit the mandatory sums, but demonstrate capabilities to responsibly administer said funds per both monetary and operational stipulations. Hence, implementing robust financial systems and controls is imperative.
In summary, securing Maltese EMI authorisation commands significant financial investment and meticulous adherence to evidentiary and payment formalities. Meeting these prerequisites is indispensable for both obtaining and preserving certification.
Personnel competency requirements
Malta prescribes stringent competency requirements regarding EMI personnel. Principally, institutions must engage at least two accredited specialists of trustworthy reputation. This ensures institutions consistently exhibit adequate expertise and integrity to maintain consumer confidence and regulatory compliance.
Vetting procedures entail confirming candidates possess the requisite credentials alongside an ethical (proof of absence of criminal records and financial irregularities) track record. Therefore, comprehensive evaluation of one's professional pedigree and absence of adverse histories is imperative.
In essence, satisfying EMI licensing protocols requires appointing personnel whose technical finesse and probity are unimpeachable. This enables entities to responsibly furnish services amid a complex regulatory environment.
Permissible legal entity structures
Registration of Maltese EMI companies may occur through various legal structures, each conferring distinct advantages:
Private Limited Liability Companies afford shareholders limited liabilities up to capital contributions. At min. one shareholder and director must be appointed.
Public Limited Liability Companies suit large transactions via public fundraising. The threshold of two shareholders and directors applies.
Partnerships facilitate joint ventures since partners assume unlimited joint and several liabilities.
Accordingly, you should carefully evaluate the merits and demerits of each legal form when structuring your venture.
EMI licensing application procedure
Application and supporting documentation submission
Securing an EMI licence in Malta necessitates formally furnishing an application to the competent regulatory authorities, enclosing the following requisite information:
- a comprehensive outline of the applicant entity's proposed activities;
- copies of the fundamental corporate documents, namely the Memorandum and Articles of Association;
- evidence of adequate share capital apportioned;
- a business plan delineating the organisational structure, reporting lines, control systems and procedures;
- details of implemented AML/CTF controls;
- identification documents of key personnel and managers;
- a data protection and confidentiality protocol;
- proof of management team qualifications and relevant financial services expertise.
Upon lodging a correct application, the vetting process is generally concluded within three months. Additional documentation may be requested as part of customary verification procedures.
Regulatory evaluation and determination of applications
The EMI licensing process entails a rigorous three-stage assessment:
- Stage 1: Preliminary screening of application conformity to baseline requirements.
- Stage 2: Thorough evaluation of all documentation including suggested business model, capital adequacy, corporate structure, systems, and controls. Assessment criteria relate to alignment with regulations and industry standards.
- Stage 3: Conclusive determination, whereby qualifying applicants are certified, while unsuccessful entities receive explanatory notifications indicating areas necessitating remediation prior to re-applying.
Ultimately, the regulator's audit verifies whether applicants demonstrate adequate resources, capabilities, and governance to sustainably conduct licensed activities while delivering appropriate consumer protections.
Taxation framework in Malta
Malta represents an advantageous jurisdiction for founding fintech enterprises, including EMI licensees, given its competitive fiscal environment. The island has instituted concrete tax policies to cultivate its reputation as a hub for innovation and growth.
Principally, foreign-owned fintech corporations may benefit from a reduced 5% corporate income tax rate, constituting one of the lowest levels across the European Union.
Additionally, Malta offers varied incentives like tax credits and preferential R&D accounting to enable cutting-edge ventures. Such alleviations curtail overall tax outlays and promote investment in pioneering technologies.
Moreover, by harnessing Malta's extensive double tax agreement network, institutions can implement optimal global tax planning architecture. This proves critical for companies collaborating internationally across multiple territories.
Malta supplements its regulatory appeal by coupling both EU market access and significant tax advantages. Consequently, the jurisdiction stands out as a gateway for fintechs seeking to expand operations in a fiscally efficient manner.
Benefits of securing a Maltese EMI licence
Nation authorities furnish promising fintech ventures registered in Malta with a controlled sandbox environment to validate offerings without immediately facing the full spectrum of regulatory obligations. This promotes innovation by balancing nascent technological advancement with guarded market entry and appropriate consumer protections.
Specifically, the sandbox enables to trial and refine solutions ahead of commercialisation before setting up a startup in Malta. This capability proves invaluable in mitigating launch risks and expenses for pioneering concepts requiring real-world testing.
In summary, Malta's regulatory sandbox constitutes a pivotal market access enabler, empowering fintechs to develop ground-breaking services whilst upholding rigorous financial regulations.
EU passporting rights
Attaining EMI authorisation in Malta permits institutions to passport activities across the entire EU single market. This confers significant advantages:
- Wider customer base access: licensing provides a client pool of over 440 million EU citizens to boost commercial growth.
- Economies of scale: standardised branding and marketing across the Region reduces expenditure.
- Simplified EU trade: supports business expansion via seamless cross-border cooperation and operations.
However, companies must implement adequate controls regarding:
- Risk management systems to identify and evaluate electronic money risks.
- Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing monitoring.
- Safeguarding user data privacy and security.
The Maltese EMI licence strategically positions enterprises to provide trusted pan-European coverage, backed by solid consumer safeguards.
- Availability of the Maltese EMI licence signals high compliance with safety protocols.
- Certification denotes strong commercial viability of licenced enterprises.
- By obtaining a Maltese EMI licence, an enterprise demonstrates commitment to responsible industry participation.
Securing a Maltese EMI licence furnishes innovative payment services access to the expansive EU common market underpinned by stringent governance protocols.
Accordingly, promoters should evaluate the optimal corporate structure based on respective requirements and characteristics before registering the entity. Overall, the nation's regulatory ecosystem and tax incentives provide fintechs doing business in Malta with an internationally competitive launchpad for growth.
Our specialist team delivers end-to-end support through the Maltese EMI certification process. This encompasses advisory services enabling applicants to submit fully compliant documentation to the competent authorities. We additionally represent clients in engagements with governmental regulators to effectively progress applications.
Our remit includes preliminary strategizing, risk management frameworks, business plan formulation and designing requisite anti-financial crime systems. This ensures enterprises integrate compliance into their activities prior to commencing licensed operations.
In summary, our firm assists fintech establishments to successfully navigate Malta's EMI regime by coordinating the multifaceted licensing process and achieving operational readiness. This allows innovators to focus resources on responsible EU-wide rollout.