Virtual Financial Assets
bringing regulatory certainty
Supporting the financial services industry to harness opportunities presented by technological innovation.
The MFSA’s FinTech Strategy aims to establish Malta as an international FinTech hub which supports and enables financial services providers to infuse technology in product and service offerings to drive innovation.
The MFSA aims to establish the foundations to enable FinTech start-ups and scale-ups, technology firms and established financial services providers to develop viable FinTech solutions which drive innovation and enhance access to financial products, increase competition, deliver better customer experiences, and ultimately, contribute to the long-term success of the Maltese financial services sector.
The MFSA FinTech Strategy has been published for industry consultation through a Consultation Document. The consultation closed on 18 March 2019. The MFSA shall be assessing the feedback received and will be communicating further developments in due course.
The Six Strategic Pillars
The MFSA FinTech Strategy proposes to set out six pillars for the MFSA to create a holistic long-term approach to catalyse innovation, growth and competition in the financial services sector, whilst ensuring robust investor protection, market integrity and financial soundness.
Details on the proposed six pillars can be found in the Consultation Document on the MFSA FinTech Strategy.
Adopt regulatory and supervisory initiatives to support innovation and improve regulatory efficiency.
Foster community, demand and collaboration and enhance access to finance.
Encourage collaboration through the adoption of Open APIs and shared platforms.
Build international links across jurisdictions to foster collaboration and trust.
Cultivate deep talent pools and stimulate research and collaborative ideation.
Establish an environment that is resilient to cybersecurity threats.
Virtual Financial Assets
The MFSA devised the Virtual Financial Assets Framework to support the innovation and new technologies for financial services in the area of crypto-assets whilst ensuring effective investor protection, financial market integrity and financial stability.
The MFSA introduced a Financial Instrument Test with the objective to determine whether a DLT asset, based on its specific features, is encompassed under (i) the existing EU legislation and the corresponding national legislation, (ii) the Virtual Financial Assets Act or (iii) is otherwise exempt.
The Test is applicable to (i) issuers offering DLT assets to the public or wishing to admit such DLT assets on a DLT exchange in or from within Malta; and (ii) persons providing any service and/or performing any activity, within the context of either the Virtual Financial Assets Act or traditional financial services legislation, in relation to DLT assets whose classification has not been determined.
Requests for applications, authorisations and approvals under the Virtual Financial Assets Act will be accepted by the MFSA from 1 November 2018 onwards through the designated online portal.
Any queries can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Legislative & Regulatory Framework
Apply for Authorisation
The MFSA started considering applications under the Virtual Financial Assets Act (‘the Act’) as from the coming into force date of the Act, 1 November 2018.
Currently the Authority is only accepting applications from persons wishing to be registered as VFA Agents in terms of Article 7 and/or 14 of the Act. For the purpose of the Competence Assessment of individuals proposed as Designated Persons and at least one of the Administrators of the VFA Agent, should none of the Designated Persons be appointed as Administrator within the structure of the VFA Agent (‘Proposed Persons’), the list of approved courses can be found here: Approved Courses for Proposed Persons.
Upon the registration of such VFA Agents, the MFSA shall be in a position to start accepting and considering requests for Whitepaper approval for persons not operating under the transitory provision and applications for a VFA Services Licence. The registered VFA Agents will be listed in the MFSA Financial Services Register.
Persons undertaking an activity in terms of Article 3 of the Act and either [i] availing themselves of the transitory period under Article 62(1)(a) of the Act, or [ii] falling within scope of the exemption under Regulation 3 of the Virtual Financial Assets Regulations but will continue their offering after the 31 January 2019, are required to draw up a Whitepaper and register it with the MFSA by no later than 31 January 2019. The Authority will start accepting the submission of Whitepapers of such persons in the coming weeks. Information in relation to the latter can be found in the Circular to Issuers of VFAs dated 24 December 2018 and Circular to Issuers of VFAs dated 15 January 2019. Such applicants are to make reference to the Guidance Note to the Whitepaper Registration Form and proceed to complete and submit Stage One of the Whitepaper Registration Form by 31 January 2019.