It’s an exciting time for Fintech in Malta, in fact I believe the positive environment we are currently experiencing in Malta is at an all time high and will continue to accelerate in coming years. It is great to see that Malta has a growing ecosystem and has become as a Fintech friendly jurisidction which has embraced Fintech’s in the market place.
For the financial ecosystem, Fintechs are a catalyst for disruptive innovation and growth, and they are also significantly improve the customer experience. According to McKinsey, the average customer satisfaction score for banking is 30 out of 100, but the latest figures show that several Fintechs easily outperform leading international banks; with online financial-services platforms achieving scores as high as 80+
Here are some of the top reasons to be excited about Fintech in Malta right now.
1. Malta as an International Fintech Hub
At the end of March, the MFSA lauched its Financial Services strategy document which importantly reaffirms a vision for Malta to establish itself as an International Fintech hub which drives innovation, this was originally outlined in 2019 and amplified upon in 2023.
The MFSA has continued to increase its resources now employing well over 400 employees, it has also increased its scrutiny which is a very positive since this ensures that Malta attracts company’s that operate to a very high standard and avoid mistakes that other jurisdictions have made along the way. On the otherhand the regulator is approachable, responsive and willling to listen which is also very positive.
The MFSA believes that the development of a specific regulatory framework tailored to Fintech businesses and disruptive technologies is essential for this sub-sector to flourishMFSA Strategy Document 2023
2. Malta’s FinTech sector ranked with top performers by McKinsey
Malta’s FinTech sector has been ranked among the top performers by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
The 2022 report looked at three key aspects of the FinTech sector: founding; funding; and scaling. The analysis showed that FinTech activity is growing in all the European countries, and described the growth in Malta as a pocket of strength.
Comparatively small economies such as Malta are unexpected pockets of strength.McKinsey
The report described Fintechs as a force for growth, modernization, and customer satisfaction in Europe’s financial-services sector. It also analysed the potential economic impact if all the European countries were to converge with the countries in the top third – and if they in turn were to reach the level of performance of the United Kingdom. Jobs would increase by a factor of 2.7, while funding would grow by a factor of 2.3.
3. Central Bank of Malta launched MTEUROPAY
The Central Bank of Malta, launched MTEUROPAY for locally licensed companies. MTEUROPAY is a payment system operated by the Central Bank offering secure settlement of euro retail payments to credit institutions, financial institutions, payment institutions and central securities depositories licensed in Malta by the Malta Financial Services Authority through the Euro Banking Association (EBA) STEP2 platform.
MTEUROPAY is similar to other payment systems offered by other central banks internationally and is a key enabler towards powering Fintech’s in Malta.
4. The MFSA launched simplified Sandbox
The MFSA also launched the second version of their Fintech sandbox which is aimed to help startups innovate. The new version takes lessons learnt and improves upon what was originally launched with the aim of increasing take up of the sandbox.
5. Malta’s first VC fund is being worked on
A commitment to build up Malta’s funding infrastructure and also to attract known players for start-ups in FinTech and beyond has been made.
Since this requires international sources of capital that can effectively be tapped
into locally to drive funding and investment into high-potential start-ups, an initiative, in partnership with the European Investment Fund, is currently being pursued to be implemented by the Malta Development Bank (MDB).
6. Mastercard will launch Fintech study on Malta
Companies like Mastercard are focused on growing their Fintech portfolio specifically in Malta. Mastercard is specificaly planning to conduct an in-depth study on Fintech in Malta.
I’m invigorated by how well Malta is positioned to embrace the startup and scaleup ecosystemPanagiotis Polydoros Country Manager for Greece, Cyprus, and Malta at Mastercard
Meanwhile VISA has also launched its Innovation program in Malta. The VISA programme is designed to help early stage Fintech scale-up and supercharge their value proposition, while engaging with Visa, its clients and partners. The platform offers its participants access to Visa’s markets, clients and products, investor networking, international visibility, and industry mentoring.
Malta has a dynamic ecosystem, with exciting opportunities and potential! There is no doubt that Malta is fast becoming a hotbed of innovation and opening its doors globally to fintech entrepreneurs.Visa Innovation Program
7. Malta is at the forefront of Crypto Assets and Blockchain technology
Malta was one of the first countries world-wide to introduce comprehensive regulation for Crypto Assets and Blockchain back in 2018 by means of the VFA Act. A positive and much awaited addition to this is the fact that the European Union is currently harmonising regulation across all member states by introducing MiCA.
Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) is a regulation in EU law. It is intended to help streamline distributed ledger technology (DLT) and virtual asset regulation in the European Union (EU) whilst protecting users and investors. MiCA was approved on 20 April 2023 by the EU Parliament and will become law in 2024.
This means that regulated firms based in Malta and regulated by the Virtual Financial Assets act, will Mica compliant on the first day it is implemented.
There is a lot happening in Malta, and it is really a positive time for the community at large.
Malta’s experience in developing a global tech-based financial industry and its position as a fast-growing financial centre makes it an attractive base for entrepreneurs and investors seeking to invest in local businesses that have the ability to scale across Europe.
If you are attending Money2020 in Amsterdam this June, I will once again be there together with the Moneybase team , we may be contacted via the Money 2020 app or find us at stand F10!.