MFSA Issues Letters To The Directors & Compliance Officers Of Investment Services License Holders

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On October 21st, 2015, the Malta Financial Services Authority (hereinafter referred to as “MFSA”) issued two letters addressed to the Directors and Compliance Officers of Investment Services License Holders, as well as company secretaries of listed companies. The letters regarded the Market Abuse Regulation (“MAR”) and the Market Abuse Directive (“MAD II”), the provisions of which will apply as of July 3rd, 2016.

The MAD II lays down a minimum standard of criminal sanctions across the EU, while the MAR provides the substantive law prohibiting market abuse, as well as stipulates transparency requisites that are applicable to listed companies and investment firms.

In order for the MAR and MAD II to be implemented, the Prevention of Financial Markets Abuse Act (“PFMA”) will require a number of changes. The PFMA’s provisions that deal with certain definitions, as well as with the main concept of market abuse, will be deleted. Instead, the MAR’s provisions will automatically become applicable

Alterations will be made to both the administrative penalties and the criminal sanctions to reflect the changes brought by the MAR and MAD II respectively. The administrative penalties will reflect at least the minimum penalties stipulated in the MAR.

A bill is currently being drafted by the MFSA for implementation of the changes mentioned above.

The authority will also issue a consultation document in due course.