Last week, the FATF has issued a very clear statement in support of Malta’s commitment to the action plan that will lead to the country’s exit off the grey list.
I cannot recall another instance in which the FATF gave such positive feedback, so soon after a greylisting decision. The hard work that is going on behind the scenes, by various entities and financial services practitioners is paying back as Malta is now clearly on the right path.
We should leverage on this momentum, however, to ambit for more than just a reversal of the greylisting decision. This generation has an unprecedented opportunity – we can use this challenge to rethink our financial services sector and model it in such a way to become an enabler of a greener economic model for the years to come.
The courage to speak with each other
There was a time in this country when the financial sector was deemed as a subject of common consensus. Being a central pillar of an otherwise resource-absent economy, this sector was historically shielded from the political crossfire. The entire financial and banking sector as we know it today was the result of consensus-building and a bipartisan understanding achieved in the mid-’90s. This ability to speak with each other led to a unanimous parliamentary agreement on the Financial Services Act, a key milestone upon which Malta built a financial centre in the next decades.
A coalition for prosperity
Today, we have yet another opportunity to work together, to create a coalition of like-minded people, across the entire societal spectrum and beyond political leanings to make out of our financial sector an enabler of a modern, fairer and greener economic model.
Those privileged to lead and represent the people’s interest in parliament following the upcoming election need to have the courage to reach out to the other side. Perhaps more than ever, we need to engage in a broad national consensus to level up our economy.
An economy that targets more than just economic growth but better prosperity and an improved quality of life for all those living and working in these islands.
A Green Financial Centre of Excellence
We need not to reinvent the wheel. This country has accumulated a wealth of experience in financial management over the last three decades. We can use this know-how and experience, to redirect the current financial structures and transform this sector in such a way for Malta to become a vibrant and dynamic international jurisdiction for sustainable financing.
Doing so would enable us to unlock the much-needed flow of private capital for green corporate projects that could be implemented by the local business community and our economic operators. This will make it possible for our economy to decarbonise and for our country to reach our carbon neutrality ambitions.
We can aspire for even more
We can grasp this opportunity to reposition Malta as a European financial centre for green financing. With a solid regulatory framework, we have the potential to attract international assets from the growing sustainable finance industry across Europe and beyond. A step which would allow our financial services industry to flourish, to do well whilst doing good as we carve for ourselves an important niche that will enhance the competitiveness and the reputation of the nation on a European and global perspective.