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MBA conference discusses key issues affecting smaller European banks

The Malta Bankers' Association  jointly with the European Banking Federation (EBF) recently hosted an afternoon conference on "Key Issues Affecting Smaller European Banks". Supported by the Malta Financial Services Authority and held at the Authority's assembly hall, the conference reviewed ongoing trends in the regulatory, supervisory and business dimensions affecting small institutions and the connected strategies for those banks' long-term success.

Following opening remarks by the MFSA chairman, Prof Joseph Bannister, the conference proceeded to the first discussion panel on "Regulatory Compliance, Proportionality and Supervision of Less-Significant Banks". Moderated by Andrew Portelli, MFSA's Deputy Director on Banking Supervision, the panel saw the participation of Caroline Knaak representing the European Central Bank, Adrienne Coleton from the European Banking Authority and Maurizio Sella, chairman and director of Banca Sella S.p.A. Italy. The topics under discussion included the possible simplification of rules for small institutions, the risks posed by small banks to  financial stability and how they are being supervised, and the balance between proportionality, level playing field and regulatory/supervisory arbitrage.

The second panel on "Innovation: Digital, Data and Cybersecurity" saw the participation of Sebastien de Brouwer, Executive Director of the EBF, Dr Keith Cilia Debono,consultant on Cyber Security at the Malta Information Technology Agency, and Andrew C. Beane, HSBC Bank Malta's CEO. The panel discussion, which included topics  such as customer expectations and the resultant transformation of banks' business models, how the regulatory framework  can enable innovation,  and the  seizing of opportunities by smaller banks, was moderated by Wim Mijs, CEO of the EBF.

The third and final panel on "Correspondent Banking and De-Risking" was moderated by Marcel Cassar, Deputy Chairman of the Malta Bankers' Association, and saw the participation of Nigel Jenkinson, IMF Director,  Alexandra Jour-Schroeder, Acting Director EC DG Justice, and Mario Mallia, CEO of Bank of Valletta. The discussion panel focused on the challenges of correspondent banking, the consequences for smaller banks of reduced access to the international financial system, and the remedial actions that can be put in place.

The conference was brought to an end with the closing remarks of the Chairman of the EBF Executive Committee, Giovanni Sabatini, and the Minister  for Finance, Prof Edward Scicluna.