Freedom of Information


    Information relating to the Freedom of Information Act (Cap. 496), Article 17(1)

     

    The Freedom of Information Act

    Eligible persons are entitled to submit Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to all established Public Authorities, including the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) 

     

     Freedom of Information Act (English Version)

     Freedom of Information Act (Maltese Version)

     
    Submitting a Request / Complaint

     

    Eligible Persons:

     

    In order to be eligible to submit FOI requests, a person has to be a resident in Malta and to have been so for a period of at least five years. Such person has to be also either a citizen of Malta or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union or a citizen of any other state the citizens of which have a right, in virtue of any treaty between such state and the European Union, to be treated in Malta in the same manner as citizens of member states of the European Union.

     

    FOI requests or Complaint forms have to be submitted in writing, and can be sent by e-mail to Communications@mfsa.com.mt or through the FOI portal www.foi.gov.mt via the e-ID or through the online form.

     

    Information to be Provided

     

    When submitting an FOI Request, applicants will be required, apart from providing contact details, to give an indication of the document / information that they wish to obtain. They will also need to indicate the format in which they wish to receive such document / information, namely as a hard copy/print-out, as an electronic copy, in the form of a summary / excerpt of contents or by on-site inspection of the document / information in question. Copies of the ID card or passport and/or additional documentation, as deemed necessary may be requested by the Public Authority, in the case of requests relating specifically to the individual, individual's assets/interests/right of access.

     

    Types of Requests

     

    In essence, one may ask for any article that is held by a public authority and on which information has been recorded in whatever form, including electronic data, images, scale models and other visual representations, and audio or video recordings, regardless of whether the information can be read, seen, heard or retrieved with or without the aid of any other article or device. One may also ask for documentation which contains policies, principles, rules or guidelines in accordance with which decisions or recommendations are made in respect of members of the public (including bodies corporate and employees of the public authority in their personal capacity). Furthermore, eligible persons have the right to request information (in the form of a written statement) on a decision or recommendation made in their respect or in respect of a body corporate which they represent.

     

    Acknowledgements

     

    FOI requests will be duly acknowledged by the Public Authorities. The acknowledgement forms will include a unique reference number and an indication of the date by when the response will be given. The forms shall also include specific information related to the Public Authority, such as its address, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, opening hours and also details of its internal complaints procedure.

     

    Checks to be carried out by the Public Authority

     

    On receipt of the application form, the Public Authority will verify whether the request qualifies as an FOI request and will inform the applicant accordingly if this is not the case. If it transpires that additional information / documentation is required, applicants will be contacted by the Public Authority to whom the request has been submitted and they will be provided with all possible assistance in order to ensure that such request complies with the provisions of the Act. This notwithstanding, when submitting an FOI request, applicants are not required to provide any justifications for requesting any particular documentation / information.

     

    The Public Authority will also verify whether the requested document / information is held at its end. If this is not the case such Public Authority will seek to identify the proper entity to whom the request should be submitted and will transfer such application accordingly (informing the applicant in the process). If no alternative entity is identified (meaning that the document / information cannot be traced at any Public Authority) the applicant will be informed accordingly.

     

    Processing of request

     

    Once it establishes that a request is an FOI request and can be addressed from its end, the Public Authority will determine whether it can provide the applicant with the document / information requested (in full or in part) or whether it will refuse the request. Prior to taking a decision in this regard, the Public Authority shall consider whether any of the exemptions listed in the FOI Act apply. The Public Authority will submit notification of whether the request will be accepted or not within 20 working days from its receipt. An additional 20 working days extension can be further applied, bringing up the total to a maximum of 40 working days from the date of the receipt of the original request.

     

    Payment of Fee

     

    When submitting a response to the Applicant, the Public Authority shall indicate whether any fees apply. If applicable, such fees shall cover only the costs related to making a document available to the applicant, namely hours of processing, costs of photocopies / faxes and digital media and costs related to inspections. Notwithstanding the above, the total applicable fee shall not exceed €40. No additional fees can be incurred for submitting applications or complaints.

     

    The application of fees is regulated by L.N. 158 of 2010.

     

    Remedial Action

     

    If the applicant is not satisfied with the response provided by the Public Authority vis-à-vis its request, the applicant is entitled to submit a complaint to the same Public Authority. If, subsequently, the applicant remains unsatisfied with the response received, s/he may lodge an appeal with the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC). If the applicant remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the appeal s/he may appeal to the Information and Data Protection Tribunal and, subsequently, to the Court of Appeal. Complaints may be submitted for the following reasons:

     

    ·        The Public Authority has applied an extension to the 20-working day deadline

    ·        The Public Authority has imposed a fee which is deemed to be excessive

    ·        The document is not being provided in the requested format

    ·        The request is being refused (for e.g. request not deemed to be an FOI request)

    ·        The Public Authority does not respect the 20 working day deadline (or the deadline indicated in the notification of extension, if applicable) for submitting a response

     

    Applicants may submit a complaint through the IDPC’s website by clicking here.

     

    Receiving documentation / information

     

    Whenever a Public Authority communicates a decision to an Applicant that access to a document / information will be granted, the applicant shall also be invited to effect payment of fees (if applicable). Within 10 working days following payment, the Public Authority will provide the document / information in the same format as the applicant had originally requested or, if this is not possible, in any other format deemed appropriate by the Public Authority. Applicants who submit requests through the FOI portal (www.foi.gov.mt) may be provided with the possibility of downloading the document / information directly from the site.

     

    If no fee will be charged, the document / information will be provided within 10 working days following notification. The request shall be considered to have been abandoned by the applicant if payment is not effected within 20 working days following notification. 

     

     

    Mission, Functions and Structure

    For a description of the Authority’s mission, functions and organisation structure click on the links below:

    General description of main categories of documents held

    The Authority holds documents falling under the following main categories:

    • Policy documents, consultative papers, reports, and related working documents on themes that fall within the functions of the Authority
    • International Agreements (Memoranda of Understanding) and related exchange of information documents
    • Personal questionnaires submitted to the MFSA by persons applying for a licence or other form of authorisation required in terms of financial services laws
    • Reports on the findings of MFSA representatives during on-site inspections carried out at the offices of licence holders
    • Reports on the findings of MFSA representatives from examinations of regular and periodic reports submitted regularly by licence holders
    • Reports of trading transactions carried out on recognised investment exchanges
    • Reports, memoranda and other documents drawn up and intended for MFSA internal use
    • Correspondence entered into between licensed entities and the MFSA (and vice-versa) in relation to regulatory and supervisory matters
    • Lists of ‘insiders’ of listed issuers and reports of trades carried out by persons discharging managerial responsibilities within an issuer as required under the Prevention of Financial Markets Abuse Act
    • Financial returns as well as audited financial statements and other financial documentation submitted by licence holders
    • Internal Procedures and check-lists relating to the regulatory units' on-site and off-site supervisory work
    • Documents pertaining to applications for admissibility to listing of securities on the Malta Stock Exchange in terms of the Listing Rules
    • Documentation relating to transfers of portfolios of insurance business
    • Documentation relating to reinsurance arrangements of insurance licence holders
    • Copies of agreements (e.g. agency agreements, underwriting and binding agreements) entered into by insurers and intermediaries
    • Outsourcing agreements entered into by insurance licence holders with third party service providers
    • Documents filed in accordance with the Companies Act
    • Dossiers related to procurement
    • Contracts, agreements, invoices, financial documentation and other similar documentation Pertaining or related to the MFSA's day-to-day administrative and management operations
    • Personal files of all employees
    • Staff Self-Development scheme files
    • Documentation related to consumer issues
    • Documentation related to court cases and other litigation involving the MFSA

     

    Description of all manuals and similar types of documents

    • Staff Handbook - The Staff Handbook is a document which forms part of MFSA employees’ terms and conditions of employment. It describes in detail the applicable policies and procedures on matters related to employment with the Authority.

    Note:

    Some of the information listed above is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (Cap. 496). Documents obtained from licence holders and persons employed by or otherwise connected with licence holders and with applicants for business in accordance with the provisions of financial services laws constitute a category of documents which is protected by the duty of professional secrecy and cannot be made public. As regards Documents filed in accordance with the Companies Act, documents are already available for public scrutiny.

    Requesting Information

    The FOI Officers may be contacted by sending an e-mail to Communications@mfsa.com.mt or by telephone 2548 5386/5345

    Internal Complaints Procedure

    An applicant whose request for information is refused, or who is otherwise not satisfied with the information provided, its format or the extension of the deadline for the submission of the notification indicating whether a request would be met or not, may address a complaint to the MFSA.

    ·        The complaint should be addressed to FOI Officer of the MFSA who shall bring the complaint to the attention of the Board of Management and Resources.  The latter shall reply to the applicant within 10 working days from the receipt of the complaint. The applicant shall also be informed that he or she may appeal the decision or otherwise address a complaint to the Information and Data Protection Commissioner in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (Cap. 496 of the Laws of Malta).

     

    ·        The officer responsible shall inform the applicant of the decision taken with respect to his or her complaint, and in the event of confirmation of a decision not to release the pertinent information, shall explain the reasons thereof. Whenever the applicant’s complaint is related to the format of the information provided or to an extension of the deadline for the submission of the notification indicating whether a request would be met or not by the Authority, and the original decision is upheld, the applicant shall be given an explanation as to why his or her complaint cannot be positively addressed.

     

    ·        An applicant may also make use of the Internal Complaints Procedure to report failure to meet deadlines or to send notifications.

     

     

    Other information

    Oct to May, 08.00hrs to 17.00hrs;

    June, July & September 08.00 – 16.00hrs;

    August 08.00hrs – 13.30hrs.

    Complaints may be submitted by e-mail to Communications@mfsa.com.mt, through the FOI Portal www.foi.gov.mt via the e-ID or through the online form.

    Accepted payment modalities: cash, cheques and credit cards

     

    MFSA Contact Details

    Malta Financial Services Authority

    Notabile Road,

    Attard BKR3000

    Tel:  21 44 11 55

    E-mail: communications@mfsa.com.mt