There are many e-money institutions looking to begin its operations in Malta. The main goal of this article is to give an overview of the regulatory framework that applies to this rapidly emerging industry sector and examine the reasons behind the growing popularity of EMI license in Malta and as a company domicile.
Malta’s telecoms and E-Money Institutions technological infrastructure, along with a multilingual workforce, make the country a suitable site for technology-intensive industries like E-Money Institutions.
An electronic-money institution (‘EMI’) is a finance corporation licensed by the Financial Industry Act (the ‘Act’) and entitled to issue electronic money following the Act’s third schedule. Additionally, electronic money is defined as “money that is issued in response to the receipt of funds to conduct a financial transaction, that has a financial value stored on the issuer, including magnetically, and that is accepted by a lawful authority person other than the banking firms that issued the electronic money.”
EMIs offers a comprehensive portfolio of processing payments and alternative banking products, services, and solutions, ranging from merchant accounts and international financial activities to elite payment cards and a private banking approach for corporate clients. EMIs offer their services and goods at competitive pricing than banks and have more straightforward onboarding procedures due to fewer regulatory constraints. EMIs are typically focused on supplying specific services and products to certain customer groups.
It’s worth noting that the concept refers to the monetary value that is ‘electronically, including magnetically stored. This hints at the definition’s goal of being “technology agnostic.” E-money, in general, can be divided into two categories:
E-money based on a card or a gadget. Initially, card/device-based e-money sparked regulatory development, but presently, server-based e-money is increasingly common. Thus, individuals can use a portable card / electronic device as an e-wallet instead of utilizing physical cash for small transactions with card/device-based e-money.
E-money based on a server. Money is held remotely at a server in server-based e-money, which can usually be viewed and handled by users.
Benefits of EMI License in Malta
The exact causes that have fueled the rest of Malta’s financial services sector’s expansion are at work here:
A regulator who is approachable and open-minded;
Technology infrastructure that is reliable;
Access to a huge number of tax treaties, as well as the potentially favorable tax treatment;
English-speaking, well-educated workforce;
Passporting offers the possibility of providing an EU-wide service;
Malta is especially relevant in terms of EMIs because it puts operators in close proximity to potentially lucrative areas, especially i-gaming and digital gaming, both of which have a sizable presence in Malta.
Specificity of the Obtaining EMI License in Malta
An EMI must go through an application process with the MFSA to obtain a license in Malta. The following are the primary regulatory standards for an EMI:
Required a minimum investment into share capital of EUR 350,000 or a minimum calculated using one of the own fund’s procedures described in Article 5 of the Directive techniques A, B, C, and D, whichever is higher. The MFSA requires that the Licensed EMI’s share capital never fall below this minimal threshold, and as a result, the MFSA demands that EMI’s keep an adequate buffer over and beyond the minimum to guarantee that the EMI does not fall short of the requirement.
It’s worth noting that any EMI that will issue E-money and hence won’t be giving payment services as mentioned above must use Method D to calculate its funds. Any EMI that will provide payment systems in conjunction with the issuance of E-money must use Methods A, B, and C to calculate its funds.
At least 2 directors are required for the licensed Institution. In the judgment of the MFSA, such individuals must be of good standing and possess sufficient experience and expertise to carry out their responsibilities. To enable the MFSA to reach this conclusion, such people and any key personnel inside the Institution must be present and qualified shareholders (holding ten percent or more of the shares) will be subjected to the MFSA’s due diligence procedures.
The Institution must demonstrate that it has a good local presence in Malta to conduct the licensable activities in and out of Malta. Personnel from outside Malta may be employed by the Institution as long as they do not outnumber and undermine the local branch. EMIs may outsource services to institutions both locally and globally; however, any outsourced services must first be approved by the MFSA.
Steps of the licensing process
Any request for a EMI License in Malta must be filed to the MFSA, which will begin the review process. The following are examples of documentation to be provided:
A comprehensive Business Plan and statutory documents;
Personal Questionnaires of any proposed Directors, Shareholders, and Key Individuals, as well as any applicable due diligence paperwork;
Financial projections for the company’s first three years of operations;
Application forms and calculations based on personal funds;
Compliance manual (internal policies and procedures) and organizational structure;
Recent financial statements;
Description on IT infrastructure and third-party providers.
The EMI License in Malta will be awarded to the Institution whenever the MFSA is satisfied with the above documents and any additional relevant material that may be requested. After that, the Licensed EMI would be able to export their services to other EU countries.
After obtaining the relevant EMI License in Malta, the EMI would be entitled to passport it into other EU Member State country/ies by complying with specific basic notification procedures, allowing the EMI to provide its services within the pertinent Member State/s and EEA State/s, either through the institution of a branch or digitally.
Features of the EMI License in Malta
As previously stated a licensed EMI may participate in activities other than issuing electronic money, such as payment services, which are regulated under the Act’s Second Provision and include:
Services that allow cash to be deposited into a payment account, as well as all of the operations required to operate a payment account;
Implementation of payment transactions, such as transfers of monies between the user’s payment service provider and another payment service provider’s payment account;
Completion of financial transactions for a payment service user where a credit line covers the monies;
Direct debit execution, including one-time direct debits;
Payment transaction execution using a payment card or similar device;
Credit transfer execution, including standing orders;
Payment instrument issuance and acquisition and money remittance;
Execution of a payment transaction in which the payer’s consent to the transaction is transmitted via any telecommunications, digital, or information technology device and the payment is made to the information technology system, with telecommunications acting solely as a middleman between the payment service user and the distributor of goods and services or network operator.
We, at Private Financial Services have experience in setting up EMI structures all around the world. Our portfolio of licensing includes the following countries: EMI License in Malta, EMI License in the UK, EMI in Lithuania, EMI in Ireland, EMI in Estonia, EMI in Cyprus, EMI in Belgium, MSO in Hong Kong, EMI in Singapore, EMI in UAE.
We will take care of all matters: analysis of your business model and country selection, formation of the legal entity, assistance with banks, preparation of all internal policies and procedures, assistance with business plan and program of operations, compliance, assistance with third party providers, application, and documents preparation to apply for EMI license, communication with central banks and financial authorities.