Malta’s Individual Investor Programme organized its first ever conference on due diligence practices last week. The aim of the conference was to evaluate the application processes that foreign investors must adhere to in order to obtain Maltese citizenship, and how to improve these processes with added transparency.
The conference hosted panels and discussions with Maltese officials and business leaders in the investment migration industry.
Bruno L’ecuyer, CEO of the Swiss-based Investment Migration Council, gave a talk on best due diligence practices, noting that the investment migration industry is more susceptible to criticism than others. L’ecuyer recommended that the first step CBI countries should take in due diligence is making the level of scrutiny for individual applications very well known as a deterrent to criminals.
“We live in a global community and there isn’t a single country which has capacity to stop evils like terrorism so countries must cooperate with each other and we recommend that all jurisdictions should submit applicants’ names and other pertinent information to regional and international governmental departments; this is critical to maintain credibility in the country,” said L’ecuyer.
A hot topic of discussion at the conference was the IIP’s new risk matrix, which has enabled Maltese officials to take a more structured approach to risk assessment and facilitate a more objective and systematic review of applications compared to the previous process. The new risk matrix is designed to assess the following categories of risk:
- Identification verification
- Business and corporate affiliation
- Politically Exposed Persons sanctions watch lists
- Sources of Funds/Wealth
- Reputation adverse media
- Close network and society
- Legal and regulatory
- Impact radius
The co-creators of the new risk matrix – MIIPA CEO Jonathan Cardona and MIIPA Chief Officer for Risk & Compliance Yakof Agius – took an evidence-based approach during the matrix’s development. Their goal was to create a new CBI matrix that could achieve greater standardization, transparency, and integrity not just in Malta, but throughout the entire industry.
Henley & Partners’ 2018 Passport Index recently ranked Malta’s passport the highest of the global CBI programs, providing travelers with visa-free access to 182 destinations. Foreign investors can obtain Maltese citizenship by making a minimum €650,000 contribution to Malta’s National Development & Social Fund.