The Hon. Edward Scicluna, Minister for Finance, said the new Government remains committed to protecting the competitiveness of the Maltese financial sector and work towards further developing the sector in terms of quality.
Prof. Scicluna was speaking during a seminar on the Financial Services Industry held on Thursday 30 May, 2013, organised by the Malta Chamber of Commerce and the German Maltese Business Council, and hosted by the Fimbank Group.
Discussing the way the Maltese banking sector developed over time from the 1980s to the present day, Prof. Scicluna noted that the sector came under external pressure due to politico-economic reasons related to competitiveness several times.
He noted that the most recent pressure arose in the wake of the Cypriot collapse only a few weeks ago, and was primarily aimed at attempting to drawing parallels between Malta and the ailing Cypriot banking sector, which collapsed due to critical exposure to Greek bonds.
“However the truth prevailed,” noted Prof. Scicluna. “It is now accepted that the Maltese and Cypriot banking systems have little in common, and that the speculation that has been circulating is unfounded.”
He referred to several reports published by established international institutions like credit rating agencies Standard & Poor’s, Fitch, Bloomberg, Nomura Global Services, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission (EC).
“These have all examined the Maltese banking model in great detail, and determined not only that our model is strong and robust, but that risk of contagion from the Cypriot crisis is low and that speculative parallels are unfounded.”
Prof. Scicluna added that the new Government is committed to the success of the banking sector, and to ensuring that the competitive of this sector is safeguarded, as well as that of other related sectors, such as financial services and iGaming.
“At the same time, we have already been very willing to cooperate with any country that seeks to exchange information on a mutual basis,” he added, noting that the FATCA agreement currently being negotiated with the United States is an example of mutual exchange of information.
He added that the new Government also values the bipartisan support that the banking sector enjoys, and that it is committed to continue to work in that direction.
– Friday, 31st May, 2013