van Cutsem Wittamer Marnef & Partners​ LEADING GLOBAL NETWORK MACKRELL INTERNATIONAL IN CHAMBERS GUIDE AS FOR EIGHTH YEAR RUNNING.

Compliance Services

We offer a team of qualified lawyers with vast experience in different areas of financial services, approved by the MFSA to act as Compliance Officers of various entities, in order to provide you with tailor-made service in an efficient and responsive manner.

We provide our regulatory compliance services to the following regulated entities:
  •  Company Service Providers
  • Collective Investment Schemes
  • Fund Administrators
  • Fund Managers
  • Financial Institutions, including EMIs and PSPs
  • Trustees and Fiduciaries and
  • Virtual Financial Asset Service Providers.
Our Services

We may provide a wide range of services relating to compliance, which include the following:

  • Acting as Compliance Officer
  • Offering compliance support
  • Auditing of internal policies
  • Staff training
  • Drafting of policies and procedures
  • Reviewing of policies and procedures
  • Offering compliance visit assistance
  • Reviewing of records and files
  • Providing regulatory updates
  • Conducting gap analysis and
  • Assisting with corporate governance.
Acting as Compliance Officer

A Compliance Officer is required to be independent and to ensure that the licence holder complies with all the applicable laws and rules. Benefit from our specialised knowledge and expertise and appoint one of our professionals to monitor the compliance of your operations. Once appointed as your Compliance Officer we will be providing the following services:

Preparing an Annual Compliance Program;
Implementing adequate policies and procedures to identify breaches by the licence holder, to minimise such breaches, as well as reviewing their effectiveness on a continuous basis;
Ensuring staff awareness of any applicable laws and regulations and providing adequate training to staff of the licence holder;
Carrying out frequent compliance review meetings;
Preparing monthly detailed compliance reports following review meetings;
Immediately informing the management in case of breaches of any rules and keep adequate records of such breaches, and liaising with the management on any issues raised in connection with his duties;
Liaising with the authorities on your behalf, and monitoring returns provided to the authorities to ensure that no incorrect or misleading information is provided to the authorities;
Carrying out any other duty that might be reasonably requested by the licence holder and/or the MFSA which is ancillary or complementary to the above duties; and
Providing expert advice on current and upcoming laws and regulations.

Offering compliance support

We understand that certain unique aspects of compliance may be better handled in-house. Thus, we offer support to your compliance function by:

Having one of our lawyers visiting your offices to carry out the desired compliance services and be the direct point of contact for your business;
Providing advice and assistance with drafting and implementing adequate policies and procedures;
Ensuring staff awareness of any applicable laws and regulations and providing adequate training to staff, when necessary; and
Reviewing your records to ensure that the licence holder is adhering to the regulatory requirements and its policies and procedures.

Drafting and reviewing of policies and procedures

We actively assist licence holders by drafting and reviewing their internal policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the applicable legislation. Our services include the following steps:

Conducting an initial meeting to discuss the strategic objectives and organisation of the licence holder to ensure that these are reflected in the written policies and procedures;
Drafting and/or reviewing internal policies and procedures in accordance with the applicable requirements;
Discussing the draft policies and procedures with the licence holder; and
Carrying out any necessary amendments and finalising the written policies and procedures.

Auditing of internal policies

Internal policies and procedures determine the decisions and actions taken by your regulated entity and are required to be constantly updated. We offer our services to review your internal policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the legal and regulatory framework. We provide suggestions on the amendments and the best practices to be established and implemented.

Staff training

We provide our clients with innovative compliance training which is tailor-made to the requirements of the licence holder including presenting real-life scenarios and case studies. Our service consists of:

Meeting with the executives of the licence holder to discuss the training objectives;
Drafting the training material and presenting it to the licence holder;
Discussing the draft training material; and
Providing tailor-made interactive training which includes real-life scenarios and case studies.

Compliance visit assistance

A compliance visit from the authorities requires a lot of preparation and dedication. We can assist you by preparing all the required documentation to present to the authorities, by being present in your offices in the weeks preceding the compliance visit and by assisting during the visit itself. Our service proposal includes:

Conducting an initial meeting to plan the preparations required for the compliance visit;
Conducting mock interviews;
Reviewing files and internal policies and procedures;
Presenting a report to the management explaining the gaps in compliance identified; and
Providing examples of best practices.

Reviewing of records and files

Following an initial meeting to discuss your record keeping procedures, we will not only review your files (sampling) to ensure that records are being kept as prescribed in applicable legal and regulatory requirements, but we will also present you with a report which outlines our findings and provides you with suggestions of best practices relating to record keeping.

Providing regulatory updates

The financial services sector is dynamic in nature and rules and legislations are constantly changing both at a local and international level. Subscribe to our monthly regulatory newsletter and be informed in due time of the most recent changes brought forward by the MFSA, the FIAU, the EU, and any European authorities within your field of operations. As part of the subscription service, you may also include our regulatory updates in any of your compliance reports, providing a better insight on developments to management and staff.

Conducting gap-analysis

We can conduct a thorough and objective in-depth analysis of the operations of your entity to evaluate if the organisational policies and procedures are being properly implemented. As part of our engagement we will be:

Carrying out interviews with management and employees to gain an understanding of their knowledge in relation to the policies and procedures of the licence holder;
Reviewing file samples to ensure that the licence holder is adhering to the regulatory requirements and its policies and procedures; and
Presenting a report to the management explaining the gaps in compliance and providing examples of best practices.

Assisting with corporate governance

Corporate governance is crucial for operating transparently, efficiently and effectively. It fosters mutual trust with investors, customers, and the public at large. We have extensive experience to assist you in implementing a robust corporate governance structure that caters for both sustainable growth and regulatory compliance.

The corporate governance manual, that we would suggest implementing, will guide you on establishing governance requirements, establishing reporting lines, implementing and documenting the process for the handling of conflicts of interest and the handling of complaints, amongst others. Our advice is tailored to the corporate structure of your entity and is aimed at assisting you in implementing the best governance practices.

REITs

Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”) are companies that own and manage various types of income-producing real estate properties. During the 2019 Malta Budget, the Maltese Government announced its intentions to introduce REIT regulatory framework. In this aspect, the Malta Stock Exchange (“MSE”) issued a consultation document in order to allow relevant market operators and stakeholders to provide feedback, comment and submit other contributions to the draft bye-laws intended to allow REITs to become eligible financial instruments that may be admitted to trading on MSE. On November 2020, the MFSA approved the amendments allowing the listings of REITs under the terms of Chapter 5 of the Bye-Laws of the MSE. In order for an issuer to be eligible to classify as a REIT, in addition to the requirements of Chapter 5 of the Bye- Laws of the MSE, a number of additional criteria shall be satisfied.

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