CSP reform: A quick reference guide – Part 2

In Part 1 we walked you through the revised scope of applicability of the Company Services Providers Act, Chapter 529 of the Laws of Malta 2020 (as amended, the “CSP Act”) following the amendments introduced on 16 March 2021 by the Company Service Providers (Amendment) Act and guidance contained in the Malta Financial Services Authority’s (“MFSA”) updated Rulebook for Company Services Providers (the “Rulebook”) in this respect. We now look at the deadlines introduced through the applicable transitory provisions.

What are the deadlines introduced by the transitory provisions for existing CSPs?

15 May 2021: Previously Exempt CSPs to apply for authorisation

Persons who, on the 16 March 2021, were offering any company service provider services (including warranted professionals such as lawyers) and who were exempt from registration, may only continue to offer such services after eight months from such date (that is, 16 November 2021) if:

  1. They apply for authorisation by 15 May 2021 and are authorised by the MFSA as an under-threshold CSP by 16 November 2021; or
  2. They apply for authorisation by 15 May 2021 and are provisionally authorised by the MFSA as an over-threshold (Class A or Class B) or Class C CSP by 16 November 2021. The MFSA notifies persons provisionally authorised of its decision to grant or refuse authorisation, within twelve months of having granted provisional authorisation.

15 June 2021: Pending Applicants to confirm the application or withdraw

Applicants whose applications for registration as CSPs with the MFSA were submitted prior to 16 March 2021 and are still subject to determination must notify the MFSA by 15 June 2021 if they intend to continue with the application otherwise it will be deemed withdrawn. Those not withdrawing do not need to submit a new application but if changes apply to the original application they must be notified to the MFSA without delay.

15 September 2021: Previously Registered/Notified CSPs to comply

Persons who on 16 March 2021 were already registered as company service providers are considered authorised persons and are subject to the MFSA’s classification process in terms of Class and threshold as outlined above. Such persons do not need to submit an application to the Authority. They must continue to comply with the old regime until 15 September 2021 at which point they must necessarily be fully compliant with the updated Rulebook. Compliance with the new rules until that date is on a best-efforts basis.

16 November 2021 and beyond: Authorisation or Cessation

All company service providers who were – prior to 16 March 2021 – exempt from registration or authorization must cease operations as of 16 November 2021 unless they have been authorised or provisionally authorised by the MFSA to continue providing CSP services having applied for such authorization by the 15 May 2021.

Provisionally authorised CSPs must comply with the CSP Act and Rulebook from when they are provisionally authorised and the MFSA will decide whether to grant or refuse final authorization within 12 months from the grant of provisional authorization.

What happens after you apply?

Following the submission of an application for authorisation, the MFSA shall determine whether to authorise the applicant in terms of the CSP Act and Rulebook. The MFSA will determine whether the applicant is to be classified as a Class A CSP, a Class B CSP or a Class C CSP depending on the corporate services being provided and other criteria. In the first two classifications, the Authority will also determine whether such persons are over-threshold or under-threshold depending on revenue earned a total number of involvements. Compliance with the CSP Act and Rulebook is required.

If you wish to hear what the top-priority considerations for CSPs are at present, please tune in to our online panel discussion on this subject on 19th April @ 16.30hrs CET – Register here

Should you need any advice on these matters please contact Annalise Papa.


This article was co-authored with Christine Borg.