Changes in EU regulation and further consolidation across the financial services sector have continued to drive growth in financial services during 2014 as total number of licences topped the 800 mark.
Investment services registered high levels of growth particularly with the issue of 17 new Category 2 licences, an indication of the strong expansion taking place in the asset management industry. During the year, 22 managers were issued with new or revised licences to operate in full compliance with the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. A number of others had their licences converted to operate under the de minimis provisions of the Directive. Six licences were issued in other categories, including the first licence to a Category 4b depositary under the new Rules. Nine licences across all categories were surrendered.
A total of 39 new Collective Investment Schemes were licensed during the year. The total number of new sub-funds within new and existing schemes was 118. Of these 106 funds were approved either as Professional Investor Funds or Alternative Investor Funds, 11 as UCITS funds and one as a recognised Private Scheme. Meanwhile the ongoing market volatility also led to a high level of sub-fund licences being surrendered as a number of existing schemes restructured and adapted to new investment strategies.
Significant new business was registered in banking and related sectors. Three new credit institutions were licensed during the year while two others had their licenses extended to cover new areas of banking activity. Five new financial institutions were licensed under the Financial Institutions Act to carry out various activities, ranging from payment and electronic money services to lending and financial leasing. Two credit institutions and one financial institution voluntarily surrendered their licences during the year.
Overall performance in the insurance sector was also characterised by steady growth. Three new insurance undertakings, including one Protected Cell Company (PCCs) carrying out affiliated insurance business and two general insurance companies, were authorised under the Insurance Business Act. Six companies were granted an extension of licence to cover new classes of insurance. Business also continued to expand within the PCC segment as six new cells were approved bringing the total number of cells within PCCs to 27. Three insurance companies and one cell ceased to be authorised by the Authority. The total number of licences in the insurance intermediation sector remained fairly static with just one cell added to an insurance brokerage PCC. Four enrolled insurance agents had their authorisations extended to cover a number of new appointments.
The number of retirement schemes rose to 35 with three new certificates of registration issued by the end of the year. Two new retirement scheme administrators and five new asset managers were registered in the pensions sector during the year.
2014 also saw a small increase in the number of trustees and fiduciaries as well as the first registrations under the Company Services Providers Act published earlier in the year. Over 5,000 new companies were also registered in the Registry of Companies.
The full end of year statistics for 2014 are published on the MFSA website and may be accessed through the following link:http://goo.gl/MuUcCx