With reference to the Annual Report for 2021 recently issued by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and the figures published by the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) for the same year, we thought it would be useful to provide an overview of the main statistics related to Malta as European Fund domicile.
Commencing from a general view of the international context related to the financial services sector, it should be noted that during the last 3 years the EU registered a decrease in Gross Value Added (GVA) generated from financial services. By way of contrast, the Maltese funds industry saw the GVA generated by Maltese funds increase year on year. Furthermore, within the EU the total employment attributed to financial services amounts to just 2.4% of total employment. In Malta, however, this percentage is more than double and stands at 5.4% (second only to Luxembourg with 10.8%), thereby confirming the importance of the financial services sector.
The investment fund industry represents a pillar of the Maltese financial services sector, thus allowing Malta to present itself as a valid and attractive choice for international operators interested establishing a fund in Malta to benefit from the advantages offered by the jurisdiction. The Net Asset Value (NAV) of all the Malta-domiciled funds (UCITS and non-UCITS) for the period 2020/2021 has grown from Euro 14.735 billion as at Dec 2020 to Euro 20.458 billion as at Dec 2021, with a significant increase of 38,8%.
In addition to this, at the end of 2021 the total number of funds domiciled in Malta edged upwards to 600 investment funds, split into 503 licences and 97 notifications issued by the MFSA. In comparison to 2020, the number of UCITS funds increased by 7.3% and the number of AIFs increases by 4.5%.
It is noteworthy that during the last three years the number of Alternative Investment Funds saw incremental growth, going from 55 AIFs in 2019 to 97 AIFs in 2021. The key success factor behind such growth was certainly the Notified Alternative Investment Fund (NAIF), a Maltese investment vehicle which has proved to be very appealing for European fund managers for 4 main reasons: it can be structured very expediently (10 working days from the date of submission of a notification pack with the MFSA), it doesn’t require a licence, it is not subject to ongoing supervision by the MFSA and it is possible to market across all the EU.