Aqua Weighs In On The UHNW Residency Work In Malta
"The biggest competition to Malta would be Cyprus: they are both islands that are very reliant on tourism, financial services, and connections to the UK." — Joanne Luce, managing director, Aqua Group
Joanne Luce is the managing director of Aqua Group, the Jersey-based multi-family office. Last year, her firm opened an office in Malta in response to client demand, particularly from the Gulf region. She says the choice was between Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg in the EU: "A number of our GCC clients are feeling destabilised because of their issues within the region, and they are looking to create platforms that give them security and stability".
She adds, "The biggest competition to Malta would be Cyprus: they are both islands that are very reliant on tourism, financial services, and connections to the UK. Cyprus has become very connected with Russian investment, and there was an issue with the banks there a few years back, so we are seeing clients being less interested in being on that jurisdiction. From a regulatory perspective, Luxembourg doesn't really want to be open for certain types of businesses, so they are encouraging that to go elsewhere."
Fenech says it is now a mistake not to consider Malta when looking at European options: "We are traditionally a civil law country, but because of our longstanding association with the UK, we have had a lot of influence from Anglo Saxon principles in our laws," he says. Much of the trust law is based on that of Jersey, for example.
"We have managed to create an integrated system with trust law principles alongside our civil law in a way that has been attractive across the board. That means that Malta, tiny as it is, can be a good place to consider."