EMI&PSP in Malta
Electronic Money Institutions in Malta
Malta provides a favourable regulatory framework for electronic money and electronic institutions. The Banking Act gives credit institutions the opportunity to undertake the business of electronic banking under their banking licence. On the other hand, ‘stand-alone’ electronic money institutions must operate within the frame parameters of a licence based on the framework of EU Directive 2000/46/EC.
We understand that you are looking to set-up an EMI services company in Malta and will therefore require our assistance with:
- Preparation of all legal documentation relating to the set-up and licensing of the business
- Communications with MFSA
- Formation of the relevant corporate vehicle
- Post-licensing passporting
Malta can boast of a modern financial services legal framework and is on the forefront of e-commerce regulation. The financial sector is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority.
The financial regime abides by industry best practices and separates regulatory and promotional activity. Furthermore regulations seek to allow financial organisations to respond quickly to market changes and develop new products, whilst ensuring investor protection measures and the protection of Malta’s global reputation.
The Malta Financial Services Authority
The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) is responsible for licensing, regulating and supervising credit institutions, electronic money institutions and financial institutions. The MFSA also licenses, regulates and supervises investment services, insurance, collective investment schemes and recognized investment exchanges.
Activities of Financial Institutions issuing Electronic Money
In addition to issuing electronic money, electronic money institutions may also engage in any of the following activities:
a) the provision of payment services listed in paragraph 2 of the Second Schedule;
b) the granting of credit related to payment services referred to in paragraph 2(d), (e) and (g) of the Second Schedule, where the conditions laid down in paragraph 3(e) of the Second Schedule are met;
c) the provision of operational services and closely related ancillary services in respect of the issuing of electronic money or to the provision of payment services referred to in point (a);
d) the operation of payment systems as defined in the Second Schedule;
e) business activities other than the issuance of electronic money, having regard to the applicable law regulating such activities.
Credit referred to in point (b) above shall not be granted from the funds received in exchange of electronic money and held in accordance with safeguarding requirements prescribed.
The licensing process
Any company desirous of establishing the business of a financial institution issuing electronic money operating in or from Malta must, before commencing such business, apply in writing to the authority for a licence. The authority furthermore requires that all applications for a licence shall be filed in accordance with its official application forms as applicable.
Electronic money institutions shall be required to hold, at the time of authorisation, initial capital amounting to not less than EUR 350,000.
The Act lays down that without prejudice to the minimum level of the capital requirements, the own funds of a financial institution may not fall below the amount of initial capital or any such amount as may be required by the competent authority from time to time, unless such a reduction is of a temporary nature and is effected after having obtained the prior approval of the competent authority.
Small electronic money issuers
The MFSA is able to waive the application of all or part of the provisions relating to general prudential requirements, initial capital, own funds and safeguarding requirements, as set out in this Act and in any Financial Institutions Rules applying to financial institutions authorised to issue electronic money, in cases where:
(a) the total business activities of the company generate an average outstanding electronic money that does not exceed the amount of two million euro (€2,000,000); and
(b) the total business activities of the company generate an average outstanding electronic money that does not exceed the amount of two million euro (€2,000,000); and
(c) none of the natural persons responsible for the management or operation of the company’s business has been convicted of offences relating to money laundering or the funding of terrorism or other financial crimes:
Provided that, the underlying contractual arrangements of the company shall provide that the payment instrument or payment account of the consumer where the electronic money is stored is subject to a maximum storage amount of not more than two hundred and fifty euro (€250).
Where the business activities of the applicant small electronic money issuer generate average outstanding electronic money less than one million euro (€1,000,000), it shall be required to hold an amount of initial capital equal to fifty thousand euro (€50,000).
Where an applicant small electronic money issuer generates an average outstanding electronic money between one million euro (€1,000,000) and two million euro (€2,000,000), it shall be required to hold initial capital amounting to one hundred thousand euro (€100,000). Such small electronic money institutions must maintain at all times own funds, equal to or in excess of the applicable initial capital requirement.
An electronic money institution, to the exclusion of a small electronic money issuer, may exercise a European right to issue electronic money in another Member State or EEA State either through the establishment of a branch or under the freedom to provide services if it satisfies the applicable provisions.
An electronic money institution licensed or holding an equivalent authorisation in another Member State or EEA State may issue electronic money in Malta either through the establishment of a branch or under the freedom to provide services. Where an electronic money institution wishes to “passport” the provision of services in Malta, it is to communicate the following information to its home regulatory authority:
(a) the name and the head office address of the electronic money institution;
(b) the activities it intends to provide;
and additionally, in the case of establishment:
(a) the address of the proposed branch;
(b) the names of those responsible for the management of the proposed branch; and
(c) the organisational structure of the proposed branch.
How we can help you
Our legal and financial services regulatory team has extensive experience guiding applicants through Maltese regulatory processes. We have advised EMIs, payment services providers, funds, investment advisors, forex brokers, market makers and many other businesses with respect to all aspects of their Malta set-up. Post-licensing, we assist our clients with all compliance and corporate maintenance matters.
Our services include:
- Comprehensive project management solution for the obtainment of the license, including
- Assistance with the drafting of all regulatory documentation (including financial projections)
- Management of all relations and communications with regulatory authorities
- Introduction to relevant local service providers
- Company formation and maintenance
- Accounting and back office services, bank relations
Malta is recognized as one of Europe’s top financial centres, and has won plaudits from top business media outlets like The Business Insider, The Financial Times and Bloomberg as a centre of financial services excellence. The factors that have led to Malta’s success can be summarized as follows:
- Firm but flexible regulatory approach on the part of the local regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA)
- Competitive fiscal regime (effective rate of tax of 5% after refunds)
- Well-educated, English speaking workforce available at competitive salaries
- Passporting opportunities throughout the EU
- Extensive double tax treaty network
- English is an official language
- Reliable IT infrastructure
- Political and economical stability
- The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA): Malta’s single regulator for financial services is approachable and open to new ideas, but does not compromise on quality and reputability.
Stage 1: EUR 15,000
Payable on engagement. Covers all assistance with the submission of a preliminary proposal, all documents connected to the draft Application for a License and the relative draft Personal Questionnaires and consultancy connected thereto
Stage 2: EUR 10,000
Stage 3: EUR 7,000
Payable on obtainment of In Principle Approval. Covers assistance with all legal matters identified in the in principle approval, leading up to the issuing of the license.
Total Professional Fees approx. EUR 32,000
Application fee (EUR)
One time fee, payable upon submission. Non-refundable.
License fee (EUR)
EUR 2,500 OR 0.0002 of total assets, whichever is the higher.
Annual fee payable on 1st January. 1st year fee is proportionate to remaining time.