The Malta Business Registry has published its Annual Report and Financial Statement for the financial year ending 31st December 2020.
During 2020, the Malta Business Registry focused on the enhancement of due diligence processes and legislative frameworks that safeguard the Maltese jurisdiction whilst ensuring an accurate Registry. Moreover, the Malta Business Registry implemented all MONEYVAL recommendations resulting in the introduction of new rigorous procedures that improve governance and compliance.
The compliance Unit reviewed more than 12,000 forms and conducted more than 27,000 checks. Furthermore, the screening related to new companies amounted to around 11,000 checks which included analyses of directors and shareholders/beneficial owners. In 2020, this unit conducted 828 onsite inspections and is projecting to carry out around 1,000 during 2021.
The Malta Business Registry undertook significant legislative developments headed by the legal and enforcement unit as per the evaluation report compiled by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of the Anti-Money laundering measures and the financing of Terrorism, the legislative initiatives put forward by the European Union and the digitalization drive being undertaken by the MBR to launch a new electronic system using the latest technology.
The legal unit undertook the challenging task of keeping the Register of Commercial Partnerships in good order by the striking of defunct companies that were in breach of the Companies Act and its subsidiary legislation. The breaches concerned matters of failure to register the required information on the ultimate beneficial owners of the respective entities, lack of filing of annual financial statements and returns for several years, lack of appointed company officers as required by statutory provisions, being in the process of dissolution for 10 or more years or having had their license revoked.
In view of this, the legal and enforcement unit issued 56,000 notifications sent as legal letters resulting in the striking off 11,289 companies from the register as well as an additional 1,166 companies that failed to file the beneficial ownership information. As for the enforcement, 509 legal letters were sent to company officers as final warnings to settle outstanding duties as well as the issuance of 21 judicial letters as enforcement penalties.
On the other hand, it is worth pointing out that albeit the Covid19 impact on the global economy, the MBR registered 3,514 new commercial partnerships in 2020.
‘The MBR has stepped up its due diligence procedures by endowing itself with the power to take concrete actions that prove the seriousness and credibility of the entity in question- from asking for additional documentation for verification purposes and applying sanctions when necessary to conducting onsite inspections, increasing administrative penalties and enhancing the enforcement of penalties’ said the Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Business Registry, Mr. Joseph Farrugia.
For the MBR Annual Report 2020, the theme of Coastal Towers around the Maltese Islands was used in order to reflect the MBR’s main focus in 2020 to represent itself as a tower watching over incoming activities by consolidating MBR’s due diligence practices and legislative frameworks to maintain an accurate and an up-to-date Register.
The MBR’s Annual Report 2020 can be found on this link: https://mbr.mt/annual-report-2020/