The fiduciary services in Malta are regulated by the Trusts and Trustees Act, Cap. 330 of the Laws of Malta (hereinafter referred to by the “Act”) and fall under the regulatory authority of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). The ACT incorporates within its provisions the Hague Convention on the law applicable to trust and fiduciary. The MFSA regulates fiduciary providers in Malta in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The Act provides for an authorisation process for a company to act as fiduciary, as defined by the Act, either within Malta or through a Maltese company anywhere in the world.
Fiduciary services in Malta can only be offered by companies specifically authorised and licensed to provide fiduciary services, trustees services and private foundations. Such fiduciary providers are licenced by the MFSA to act as fiduciary for their clients. The licenced trust and fiduciary providers undergo a through due diligence by the MFSA. Applications for a trust and fiduciary licence are maid in a specific form and must contain the due diligence documents, that include: copy of passport, police conduct, bank reference, professional reference and utility bill) of all shareholders, as well as, all directors, company secretary, managers, Money Laundering Reporting Officers and Compliance Officer of the licenced fiduciary. The MFSA will not grant a fiduciary licence unless it is satisfied that the required criteria are met and all involved parties are of good conduct.
There are many reasons why an Ultimate Beneficial Owner makes use of the fiduciary service in Malta. The most common reason is confidentiality vis-à-vis competitors and/or family members.
The fiduciary service is NOT a service whereby the licenced fiduciary company holds the shares in the name of the shareholder. Ownership of the shares still remains in the name of the ultimate beneficial owner of the company and under their full control. Since the identity of final beneficial owners of Malta companies is publicly available at the public Register of Companies, the licenced fiduciary ONLY provides anonymity to the final beneficial owner, whereby, the ultimate beneficial owner retains FULL ownership of the shares in its company.