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MIA News

  • 7 Jan 2022 15:36 | Anonymous

    Malta`s Efforts to exit the FATF’sGrey List`– the role of professionals.

    Getting Malta out of the ‘Grey List` has been one of the priorities of the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA) for the past months. In fact, the MIA (the “Institute”) had put forward recommendations, challenged viewpoints, and taken leadership in the development of new legislation and regulation on the subject, including on the enhancement of regulation of the profession, insisting on quality and accountability.  

    During a physical conference held on 7th December 2021, the Institute called for a timely exit from the ‘Grey List` of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) but noted that this should not be at the cost of stifling business with “over-regulation and excessive bureaucracy”. In fact, the Institute has been listening to its members, whilst also working with different authorities and stakeholders. The MIA`s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Committee has worked with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) on various aspects, including the drafting of the sector-specific Implementing Procedures Part II which are still to be released. Such guidance will provide sector-specific guidance to accountants and auditors in the field of anti-money laundering. Various training and discussion events have been organised together with the FIAU and the Malta Business Registry (MBR) to help support practitioners in relation to anti-money laundering obligations. The growth and success of the Maltese jurisdiction was the result of the collective effort of all stakeholders, with the Institute insisting that now again it is time for everyone to take the necessary, decisive action required from the respective ends. 

    During the Conference, presentations and panel discussions centred around beneficial ownership and tax evasion, these being the two key areas on which the FATF has pushed Malta for further action. 

    Key stakeholders involved in implementing the action plan agreed with the FATF noted that a change in mentality is already evident in the efforts demonstrated over the past few months. Nevertheless, focusing on their respective areas of concern, speakers emphasised the need for increased effectiveness.

    The FATF has pushed Malta towards a more effective analysis of intelligence being gathered and the enhancement of investigative, supervisory and enforcement structures by competent authorities, together with the application of proportional sanctions. 

    While authorities noted satisfactorily the cooperation being shown by professionals and that certain tax advisors and accountants are reluctant to service certain clients, an emphasis was made on the need for professionals to be vigilant and provide the necessary information, including submission of high-quality Suspicious Transaction Reports. Professionals do not have to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt to submit reports - a reasonable suspicion is enough.Practitioners need to have the right knowledge and right definitions so that they carry out what is expected of them without going overboard. Professionals emphasised that all staff must be provided with the necessary training on what to look out for in terms of ‘red flags’ on money laundering. There should be tailor-made training on what is to be expected and what raises concerns.

    Speakers noted that we must not only focus on cases where the predicate offence of tax evasion happens in Malta. Professionals need to undertake proper due diligence to determine whether money laundering is happening. One must move away from a tick-the-box approach and really understand the due diligence. Accountants and auditors do not need to be investigators, but they need to raise concerns. Industry professionals, as subject persons, have a responsibility towards society as gatekeepers.

    Practitioners need also to be alert for any changes. Compliance is not a form filling exercise but an ongoing process. The business risk assessment must be updated on a frequent basis, while also making sure to follow the risk appetite of a business. It was acknowledged that if the risk does not justify the fees, then one should not accept the client. Practitioners must have clear communication and centralisation of the AML process. If there is inconsistency between information available and the customer profile, accountants and auditors must ask the right questions and obtain supporting documentation. If something remains too complex, illogical or unreasonable even after all the questions asked, then one must consider raising this further. Care must be taken and issues must be raised both at onboarding and at termination stage. Accountants themselves emphasised the need to adopt and foster a culture of ethics, integrity and professional scepticism. Business must be carried out with a duty of care, not for the money or the client, but for the accountancy profession and our country.

    Experience shows that grey listing results in actions, domestic cooperation and increased awareness, while creating knowledge and experience. This MIA Conference confirmed that this is also being experienced in Malta.

    This event was supported by Lexco Compliance Solutions, InScope and Konnekt, and brought together almost 200 professionals.

  • 13 Nov 2021 09:15 | Deleted user

    The Malta Institute of Accountants notes with disapproval the introduction of Legal Notice 419 of 2021, which allows taxpayers to offset tax payable on property transfers against their existing tax arrears.

    This measure is tantamount to a tax amnesty and is a slap in the face to all professionals and entrepreneurs who operate their business in full compliance with legal and ethical considerations, while rewarding defaulters who abusively failed to pay their dues towards society.

    Beyond ethical considerations, the MIA expresses deep concern that the enactment of the Legal Notice in question was carried out against the spirit of the collective effort of authorities, institutions, and professionals, to contribute to enhance Malta’s international reputation.

    This Legal Notice risks derailing the country’s efforts on one of the most pressing issues for the country, notably its commitment, both nationally and to the international community, to fight tax crimes. By rewarding defaulters that have abusively failed to abide by legal requirements, Malta is risking undermining the progress the country is seeking to make in this regard.

    The Malta Institute of Accountants has been working closely with the authorities to ensure that Malta strengthens its fight against money laundering and improve its reputation in this regard. It therefore believes no stone should be left unturned to achieve this crucial objective.

    In this context, the Institute appeals to Government to withdraw this legal notice.
  • 7 Oct 2021 10:00 | Anonymous

    David Delicata appointed as new MIA President

    The Institute of Accountants has held its 57th Annual General Meeting on Friday 1st October, during which it elected seven fellows of the same Institute to its Council. The members are Ms Charmaine Baldacchino, Mr Edmond Brincat, Mr Mark Bugeja, Mr Christian Gravina, Mr Mr Noel Mizzi, Ms Lucienne Pace Ross and Mr William Spiteri Bailey. They join Mr Fabio Axisa, Mr Christopher Balzan, Mr David Delicata, Dr Jonathan Dingli, Mr Shawn Falzon, Dr Ivan Grixti, and Ms Annabelle Zammit Pace on the 14-member Council.

    During the event, the MIA members, who joined the AGM online, were able to raise questions to the Institute and also vote on a series of statutory changes proposed by the Council.

    Introducing his final Annual General Meeting, outgoing President Fabio Axisa highlighted the Institute’s efforts to strengthen and elevate the quality and standards within the accountancy profession. While insisting that the accountancy profession in Malta offers a high-quality, highly-regulated industry, he acknowledged that there was always scope for improvement. With the objective of covering as many accountants as possible, the MIA has also instituted a programme for the purpose of including expatriate accountants, Axisa explained, adding that the Institute would like to see better numbers in this regard over the coming years.

    Recalling that the Institute comprises some 3,700 members, the absolute majority of which reflect the body’s ideals and standards, Axisa highlighted the efforts to improve the disciplinary proceedings of the Institute. “Every single complaint against any of our members was investigated, and where necessary, disciplinary proceedings were undertaken”, Axisa explained.

    The Institute had strengthened its voice and the respect among its peers on a national level over the past few years, the outgoing President said: “Our voice is considered reliable, relevant and constructive.  Our credibility has been attained through our incessant work with respect to formulation of feedback to formal and informal consultations carried out by all relevant regulatory authorities”. Fabio Axisa insisted that the body will continue to take a leading role in future changes, arguing that not only will the MIA continue to provide feedback to matters of national importance but also being proactive with proposals on issues such as the role and structure of the Accountancy Board, which regulates the profession.

    Mr Axisa also highlighted the importance of investing further in driving more young people towards the accountancy profession, referring to an ongoing campaign directed at secondary students, indicating that increasing the supply of quality professional accountants will remain one of the MIA’s priorities. “We have recently launched a landmark education campaign targeting Year 8 & Year 11 students, to educate these children on the attractiveness of our profession and other topics related to accountancy”.

    Mr Axisa thanked his fellow Council Members, Committee Members, the Management and employees of the Institute for their sterling work in favour of the accountancy profession in Malta.

    During the first meeting of the same council held shortly after, the four Officers of the Council were elected. David Delicata was elected as the Institute’s new President, Mr Noel Mizzi as Vice-President, Mr Mark Bugeja as Secretary and Mr Christian Gravina as Treasurer.

    Mr Delicata, who served as Vice-President of the Institute for the past two years, thanked the Council members for their trust while expressing his appreciation towards outgoing President Fabio Axisa for his sterling contribution throughout the past challenging two years, during which the Institute’s voice was strengthened and has become an important stakeholder in matters of national interest.

    Going forward, Mr Delicata expressed his commitment to continue to guide the Institute in elevating the standards of the profession and working closely with Regulators and other stakeholders to support the country in shoring up its reputation, which is essential in Malta’s post-pandemic recovery.

  • 2 Sep 2021 16:22 | Anonymous

    The Institute of Accountants launched an awareness campaign that will help students in secondary schools make informed decisions about pursuing a study path in accountancy. The initiative targets all students in Year 8 (Form II) and Year 11 (Form V) in state school, church schools, and independent schools.

    The campaign reaches out to students with interactive virtual sessions where they can learn more about a career in accountancy and how to approach the educational journey. The meetings will give students the opportunity to raise any questions and the speakers can address any misconceptions surrounding the profession.

    “Accountancy is a rewarding and dynamic profession that prepares the up-and-coming generation well for the future,” explained MIA CEO Maria Cauchi Delia. “This is the first campaign of its kind by the Institute, and we want to bring accountancy closer to students.”

    The project outcomes are based on a study conducted earlier this year with students in secondary schools with the support of the Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes. Participants in the survey shared their opinions and perceptions about accountancy.

    Ms Cauchi Delia described the campaign as a future-looking initiative that fits into the national education strategy and seeks to build new competencies fit for the 21st century.

    Addressing the launch press conference, Education Minister Justyne Caruana said that the campaign sets a good example for other professions to follow. “This is a significant initiative because it focuses on critical years in children’s educational journeys. It is our duty to align our aims with the needs of the country and the MIA awareness campaign will offer all the opportunities of accountancy to students.”

    MIA President Fabio Axisa said that the accountancy profession is crucial to Malta’s economic and social development. “As an Institute we feel an obligation to stimulate new talent that can keep transforming the profession as well as the country. Accountancy does not only provide technical skills, but human skills as well and we are delighted to make this investment in education.”

    The campaign will be supported by a year-long digital communications effort to keep students and their guardians as well as educators engaged in the process.




    L-Institute of Accountants iniedi kampanja ta’ għarfien għall-istudenti fil-livell sekondarju

    L-Institute of Accountants nieda kampanja ta’ għarfien li se tgħin lill-istudenti fl-iskejjel sekondarji biex jagħmlu għażliet infurmati dwar karriera fl-accountancy. L-inizjattiva hija mmirata lejn l-istudenti kollha fis-Sena 8 (Form II) u s-Sena 11 (Form V) fl-iskejjel tal-istat, tal-knisja, u dawk indipendenti.

    Il-kampanja tilħaq l-istudenti permezz ta’ sessjonijiet interattivi virtwali biex isiru jafu aktar dwar il-professjoni u kif għandhom jippjanaw il-vjaġġ edukattiv tagħhom. Il-laqgħat se jagħtu lill-istudenti l-opportunità li jagħmlu d-domandi tagħhom u l-kelliema se jkunu jistgħu jiċċaraw ideat żbaljati li jistgħu ikollhom dwar il-professjoni.

    “L-Accountancy hija professjoni dinamika u li tagħti sodisfazzjoni filwaqt li tipprepara lill-ġenerazzjoni l-ġdida tajjeb ħafna għall-futur,” qalet il-Kap Eżekuttiv tal-MIA Maria Cauchi Delia. “Din hija l-ewwel kampanja ta’ dan it-tip mill-Institute of Accountants u permezz tagħha rridu nwasslu l-accounts eqreb tal-istudenti.”

    Il-miri tal-proġett huma bbażati fuq studju li sar aktar kmieni din is-sena fost l-istudenti fl-iskejjel sekondarji bl-appoġġ tad-Direttorat għall-Programmi ta’ Tagħlim u Assessjar. Il-parteċipanti fl-istħarriġ qasmu l-impressjonijiet u l-opinjonijiet tagħhom dwar il-professjoni.

    Maria Cauchi Delia iddeskriviet il-kampanja bħala inizjattiva li tħares lejn il-futur u li taqbel mal-istrateġija nazzjonali tal-edukazzjoni li tfittex li tibni kompetenzi ġodda għas-Seklu 21.

    Meta indirizzat il-konferenza, il-Ministru tal-Edukazzjoni Justyne Caruana qalet li-kampanja tagħti eżempju tajjeb lil professjonijiet oħra. “Din hija inizzjattiva sinjifikanti għax tikkonċentra fuq snin kritiċi fil-vjaġġ edukattiv tal-istudenti. Huwa d-dmir tagħna li nqarrbu l-għanijiet tagħna mal-ħtiġijiet tal-pajjiż u l-kampanja ta’ għarfien tal-MIA se twassal l-opportunitajiet kollha li toffri l-accountancy lill-istudenti.”

    Il-President tal-MIA Fabio Axisa tenna li l-professjoni tal-accountancy hija kruċjali għall-iżvilupp ekonomiku u soċjali ta’ Malta. “Bħala Institute inħossu r-responsabbiltà li inħeġġu talent ġdid li jista’ jkompli jittrasforma kemm lill-professjoni u kemm lill-pajjiż. L-accountancy ma tagħtix biss ħiliet tekniċi iżda wkoll ħiliet umani u għalhekk huwa ta’ pjaċir għalina li qed nagħmlu dan l-investiment fl-edukazzjoni.”

    L-inizjattiva se tkun akkumpanjata minn kampanja ta’ komunikazzjoni diġitali ta’ sena li se żżomm lill-istudenti u l-ġenituri tagħhom kif ukoll lill-edukaturi infurmati b’dak li jkun qed isir.

  • 16 Aug 2021 08:24 | Anonymous

    The Malta Institute of Accountants held the New Members Ceremony for accountancy students who completed their studies in 2019/2020.

    The event was moved from last year due to Covid-19 restrictions and was the first in-person event organised by the Institute since the start of the virus outbreak. Nearly 200 students graduated from the study paths offered by the University of Malta and ACCA to join the Institute as full members.

    The President of the MIA, Fabio Axisa, commended the attendees on their accomplishments in an extraordinary year, extending his thanks to the graduates’ families who supported them throughout their study journeys. He said that accountancy is a dynamic field and encouraged them to do their part in strengthening the profession as members of the MIA: “You are the backbone of the profession, and this is your Institute.”
    Mr Axisa offered the young members practical advice on making the most of their careers to benefit the profession and communities. “There are no shortcuts to success and no short-term gains in this profession,” said the President, “Protect our jurisdiction and strive to make a difference for the better”.
    MIA CEO Maria Cauchi Delia welcomed the new members and urged them to keep developing both as professionals and as individuals. She said that an exciting and rewarding career awaits them and that the MIA will assist them in reaching their goal.
    As members, Ms Cauchi Delia told the graduates, they have the opportunity to shape the profession: “As the youngest generation in the profession, the Institute counts on you to continue the transformation in the accountancy profession.”
    The event was also addressed by the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Management, and Accountancy, Prof. Frank Bezzina and the President of ACCA Global Mark Millar.
    Prof. Frank Bezzina congratulated the young members on their accomplishments and encouraged them to continue developing their skills. He said that the profession as a whole appears to have managed the effects of the pandemic successfully but warned that other obstacles lie ahead.
    The Dean said that the profession is becoming increasingly pivotal in the life of businesses and that stakeholders hold accountants in high esteem: “You represent the moral compass of the organisation and I urge you to exercise sound judgment and uphold high standards of integrity throughout your careers.”
    Mr Millar told participants that they did the right choice in persevering in this study path and promised a fulfilling career in a fast-changing landscape. “Accountancy is a forward-thinking profession and, when the pandemic subsides, industries will need agile, creative, and highly-skilled specialists like yourselves.”
    The ACCA President praised the Institute of Accountants for its dedication to the profession, highlighting a unity of purpose between the two bodies that, he said, is expected to play an increasingly important role in the geographic region.
    During the ceremony, four graduates received accolades for distinguishing themselves in their studies. Enrica Maria Debono accepted the University of Malta Best Student Award; Marica Xuereb accepted the MIA-ACCA Top Affiliate Award for September 2019, Leanne Barry accepted the MIA-ACCA Top Affiliate Award for March 2020; and Aaron Grech accepted the MIA-ACCA Top Affiliate Award for September 2020. Johann D’Amato, in absentia, was congratulated for his award as MIA-ACCA Top Affiliate for December 2019.
    The Institute also conferred the Kevin Mahoney Award to Mr Brian Ferrante for his selfless support to parents with children diagnosed with autism. The award recognises accountancy professionals who distinguish themselves for altruism in the community.
    The New Members’ Ceremony was held in accordance with the latest safety protocols issued by the health authorities.
  • 27 May 2021 12:00 | Anonymous
    The Malta Institute of Accountants approved statutory amendments during an Extraordinary General Meeting to reinforce the Institute’s governance structure and internal disciplinary procedures. Members voted on a series of resolutions that refine the mechanisms governing the Institute’s preventative and corrective measures.
    In his introduction, President Fabio Axisa said that the proposed changes to the Statute and Bye-laws reflected other transformations both within the profession as well as outside of it. He said that the Institute always had robust procedures in place to deal with member misconduct, adding that the amendments on this matter were being introduced to further refine the disciplinary process.
    “The vast majority of members are exemplary professionals who carry out their roles with integrity and a sense of duty,” said the President. “It is clear, however, that the broader regulatory infrastructure needs enhancement, and the Institute is doing its part to improve the situation.”
    The statutory changes presented by the Institute’s CEO, Maria Cauchi Delia and the Institute’s President, were all overwhelmingly passed by the members in a round of electronic voting. The amendments fell under one of three categories: areas related to the governance of the Institute, definitions and consolidation of existing statute articles, and updates to reflect the current circumstances that the Institute is operating in.
    Participants also approved a resolution to increase the members of the Institute’s Disciplinary Appeals Pool from three to ten and endorsed the Council’s nominees for the organ’s chair, Mr Anthony Zarb, and deputy chair, Mr Paul Mercieca.
  • 5 Feb 2021 09:00 | Anonymous
    Malta Institute of Accountant and Malta Bankers’ Association hold webinar on issues affecting banks and practitioners
    Representatives from the Malta Institute of Accountants and the Malta Banking Association highlighted the main concerns encountered by Corporate Services Providers acting on behalf of clients, in on online discussion held on February 1.
    The webinar explored the theme of “Topical Issues affecting Banks and Practitioners” and identified the major stumbling blocks that often lead to a longer process following requests to open a new bank account.
    The event provided a platform for members of the MBA and the MIA to bridge information gaps between banks and Corporate Services Providers on matters such as risk appetite, new banking relationships, and trust between actors.
    The exchange of experiences gave members of both organisations a better understanding of key issues and offered general guidance on the procedures adopted by the financial services sector in relation to bank account opening. It also provided a clearer indication of the type of business and characteristics of structures banks are willing to accept, on a sector basis.
    The MBA was represented by Maruska Buttigieg Gili (BNF), Kenneth Farrugia, Martin Xerri and Dr. Therisa Borg (BOV), Suzanne Stafrace (HSBC), Ray Formosa (Lombard) and Simon Micallef (APS). They replied to questions from MIA members. The session was moderated by Fabio Axisa, MIA President and Karol Gabarretta, MBA Secretary General.
    In a joint statement, the MIA President and the MBA’s Secretary General said: “There is a fundamental need for the MBA and MIA to continue the useful dialogue between banks and practitioners initiated through this webinar. Both of us see and welcome, the possibility that the partnership between the MIA and MBA could extend to the organisation of other events to ensure more comprehensive coverage of some of the key issues identified during this webinar. We also believe that the participants will have found this event to be useful and fruitful.”
    Mr Gabarretta added: “I wish to emphasise that the association strongly believes in such events as they provide a very good platform for stakeholders, to discuss and share experiences. The MBA thus looks forward to further collaboration with MIA amongst others, to explore other areas of mutual interest.
    Mr Axisa confirmed this and thanked everyone involved in the event. He added that “as the recognised professional accountancy body in Malta, the MIA will continue working closely with the MBA to discuss issues of concern to their respective members and find workable solutions, whilst taking cognisance of any prevailing restrictions.”
  • 18 Jan 2021 07:02 | Anonymous
    Foreign accountants working and residing in Malta can now form part of the Malta Institute of Accountants as International Associate Members or Associate Members.
    The Institute has launched the International Associate membership class while widening the criteria for Associate members.
    The International Associate Membership programme allows foreign accountancy professionals practicing in Malta who have obtained their warrants from any another country to join the Institute for the first time as International Associates.
    Foreign accountancy professionals who have a qualification equivalent to the University of Malta’s Masters degree which is also recognised by the Accountancy Board for the purpose of obtaining the local warrant can join the Institute as Associate members subject that they are members of a professional accountancy/audit body in their country of origin.
    More information can be obtained via the following link.
    Institute members are entitled to a range of privileges including information services, technical support, discounted fees for CPE events organised by the Institute as well as other discounts and offers available through the MIA Privilege Scheme.
  • 15 Dec 2020 10:00 | Anonymous
    On the 14 Dec 2020 MIA participated in the Anti-tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) seminar organised jointly by the IFSP, the MIT and the MIA. This saw leading tax practitioners Mr John Ellul Sullivan, Mr Steve Gingell and Mr Craig Schembri discuss the way in which the provisions of the EU’s ATAD are being implemented in a Maltese context.
    The virtual 2 hour seminar saw over 200 members from the 3 institutions participate in this interactive webinar, which allowed for participants to ask questions both in advance of the session and during the session.
    The EU’s ATAD is part of an international drive towards greater transparency in tax matters. The provisions of the Directive are transposed into local legislation pursuant to S.L. 123.187. The focus of the seminar was on the three specific aspects on the ATAD implementation being the CFC, Exit Taxation and Interest Deduction Limitation rules.
  • 18 Nov 2020 12:46 | Anonymous
    The Malta Institute of Accountants visited PN Leader Bernard Grech to discuss issues of national concern and actions to address them. This was the first meeting between the Institute and the PN since the election of Bernard Grech at its helm.
    MIA President Fabio Axisa said that Malta’s reputation is the major challenge the country and the accountancy profession is facing right now, and accountancy professionals are at the forefront to repair it.  Mr Axisa highlighted the Institute’s initiatives in this respect.
    “The Institute is not satisfied with the current regulatory infrastructure,” said Mr Axisa, explaining proposals made by the MIA to strengthen the infrastructure surrounding the Accountancy Board. “As the voice of the biggest profession in Malta, we insist on the application of highest standards and expect all regulatory bodies to function effectively, and fairly, with complete autonomy.”
    The two delegations discussed the threat of losing USD correspondent banking for our financial services sector and agreed on the pressing need of a national strategic financial services plan that goes beyond the outcome of the Moneyval assessment.
    “Malta’s financial market risks becoming isolated in the event of an unsatisfactory Moneyval outcome and without USD correspondent banking,” warned Mr Axisa. “The country’s economy might be severely impacted and the Institute urges the political class to show maturity in building a common front and consensus with respect to the financial services strategy.”
    Bernard Grech said that the Nationalist Party has an obligation to hold the government to account, but it wants to work towards a national consensus on the financial services agenda. He said that a common strategy must not stop with political parties and the Institute of Accountants has a key role to play in shaping it.
    Fabio Axisa pointed out that the MIA conducts programmes to keep raising the quality of the profession and that action will always be taken against members who misbehave. He said that the absolute majority of its members uphold the highest standards and practitioners are, many times, disproportionately targeted in view of a minor section of the profession.
    “We welcome stricter regulations to help restore Malta’s reputation, but all professions, regulatory bodies and authorities need to raise the bar,” said the MIA President. “Ultimately, standards need to be enforced by all concerned and the tone at the top within the governing and regulatory authorities makes a major difference.”
    Mr Axisa was accompanied by MIA Vice President David Delicata, Secretary Noel Mizzi, and CEO Maria Cauchi Delia. PN spokesperson for the economy Claudio Grech, spokesperson for financial services Kristy Debono, and general election candidate Graham Bencini also joined the meeting.


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