The Republic of Malta is located in the centre of the Mediterranean, 100 km south of Italy. The Maltese archipelago consists of five islands two of which, Malta and Gozo, are inhabited. The total area of the islands is 316 square kilometres with a population of approximately 450,000. Malta has a typical Mediterranean climate, offering warm dry summers and mild winters.
The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages are crowded with Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces. As the countryside is dotted with the oldest known human structures in the world, the Islands have rightly been described as an open-air museum.
Malta boasts one of the oldest Mediterranean civilisations with its Neolithic temples dating back some 5,000 B.C. As a stepping stone between Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, the island has long been at the crossroads of the Euro Med region.
Malta had been under the influence of the British rule for 160 years until it achieved independence within the Commonwealth on the 21 September 1964. Ten years on, precisely on the 13 December 1974, Malta became a Republic. Malta’s dependence on Britain completely ended in March of 1979 when the last of the British forces left Malta. Today Malta is one of the member states of the European Union having joined on the 1 May 2004, and is also a member of the British Commonwealth, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. In January 2008, Malta adopted the Euro as the national currency.
Over the past decade, Malta has increasingly expanded its role as an international financial services centre. This positions the financial services industry as the fastest-growing sector in the Maltese economy, powered by a positive legislative framework and a pro-business attitude.
Malta offers a refreshing change from other busy, chaotic business centres with many distinct advantages:
- A high standard and a low cost of living coupled with a diverse range of cultural events and leisure activities,
- Wide use of English and Italian, with the definitive version of financial legislation being in English,
- Financial services regulation modeled along best practices in European and OECD countries,
- An open market economy and friendly relations with Mediterranean rim countries,
- A politically stable member of the EU, infrastructural soundness and a strong economy, and
- A highly educated and motivated workforce, with a large pool of efficient and versatile administrative and managerial staff.
For a country the size of Malta, being discovered will always be a challenge to overcome. Since its independence, Malta has successfully managed a number of challenges to diversify its economy from the old fortress image into a fast-growing, young and vibrant country with a strong can-do attitude.
Malta as an onshore financial services jurisdiction has a very favourable tax regime for both investment funds domiciled in Malta and their non residential investors. There is no capital gains tax or income tax payable in Malta (excluding UCITS Schemes which fall under the Savings Directive).
Malta is also party to an extensive range of double taxation treaties and depending on the particular treaty, investment funds may receive income from their underlying assets free from withholding tax.