Changes to the CSP Rulebook


Sarah Fenech, Senior Associate in the Corporate and Commercial Department, writes about the recent changes made to the Corporate Services Provider Rulebook which aim to streamline regulatory submissions for licensed Company Service Providers, during and as from 2024 onwards.

On the 19 February 2024, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) announced that the revised Annual Compliance Return (the “ACR”) template is now available on the MFSA website.

This follows from a previous announcement made on 23 January 2024, wherein the MFSA advised of various amendments that were carried out to the Company Service Providers Rulebook (the “CSP Rulebook”), for the purposes of streamlining regulatory submissions for licensed Company Service Providers (“CSPs”), during and as from 2024 onwards.

By virtue of the said amendments, which came into effect as of 23 January 2024, certain regulatory submissions originally required to be completed by means of standalone documentation, have now been integrated directly into the ACR. By way of example, there is no longer any requirement to submit the Certificate of Compliance and the Statement of Solvency; rather, the relevant information pertaining to such regulatory submissions is now being requested via the ACR.

Additionally, the timeframe for evaluating internal controls has increased from a minimum of every six months to at least, annually, while certain MFSA notification requirements have been removed, namely (i) the requirement to notify the MFSA in the case of the delayed submission of the ACR and (ii) the requirement on Class A and B CSPs to notify the MFSA when using an address other than their registered address for CSP client services.

Clarification has furthermore been provided with respect to the documents and process involved in the surrender of a CSP licence, and also in relation to the reporting of breaches of the Company Service Providers Act (Chapter 529 of the Laws of Malta), the Regulations issued thereunder and/or the CSP Rulebook, within the ACR.

The revised CSP Rulebook goes on to state that a warranted civil partnership, authorised to act as an Under threshold Class A CSP or an individual CSP, which does not submit the ACR within the statutory deadline, will be considered to have breached the obligation to provide financial information to the MFSA.

The ACR and related documents (which are to cover the previous calendar year), must be submitted to the MFSA via the Licence Holder Portal annually, within four months following the financial year-end for legal persons and partnerships authorized to act as CSPs, and by no later than 30 April of each calendar year for individual CSPs. It is imperative that submission files adhere to the prescribed format and naming convention guidelines as set out in the MFSA Circular of 19 February 2024, since failure to do so may result in rejection of the file.

CSPs are urged to stay informed about the updated CSP Rulebook, and adhere to regulatory requirements.