New requirements for opening a bank account in Malta
Published: | 03/10/2017 | blog
Malta is rapidly becoming an international banking center, and today it has offices of more than 25 international banks. Among them are HSBC, BNP Paribas Fortis, Deutsche Bank, as well as the world-famous Mediterranean Bank, Bank of Valleta and APS Bank Ltd. The Maltese banks remain well-capitalized and have high liquidity which makes them attractive both for the deposits of individuals and legal entities, and for current banking operations. Until recently, opening a bank account in Malta was a simple and quick procedure for the customers from around the world, provided they met the requirements of the bank. However, in connection with the implementation of the new European legislation which entered into force in 2014, the European Central Bank assumed the authority to regulate the banking system of Malta at the highest level, significantly tightening the regulatory requirements for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism (Directive (EU) 2015/849). Consequently, the local banks had to reconsider their requirements for the KYC procedure (“know your customer”) and compliance. Now, not everyone can open a corporate bank account in Malta. Our specialists have negotiated with the country’s largest banking institutions and found out that in order to open a corporate account in Malta, it is necessary to have close ties with it (it refers to the company’s registration on its territory with the local director). Most banks also welcome doing business in Malta, having employees and a business plan (for 3 years). The requirements to the beneficiaries and trustees (trustee / proxy) or the general manager of the company have become tougher (in the event that there is no final beneficiary (holding 25% or more shares and a proxy). So, the bank can demand not only a document proving the identity and address of residence, but also statements and recommendations from the bank, a resume, a certificate of non-conviction. According to several banking experts, the new requirements are also related to the wish of the Maltese government to prevent the transfer of the capital through the island in order to leave investors’ money in the treasury in the form of taxes and salaries.