Malta Business Registry MBR

March 07 20:35 2022 by The Editor Print This Article

The Malta Business Registry (MBR) is a Maltese government agency responsible for receiving new company registrations from licensed Malta Law Firms and Malta Company Formation Agents.  The Malta Business Registry is also responsible for  the registration and regulatory compliance of companies and commercial partnerships within its jurisdiction.  The other duties of the Malta Companies Registry includes acting as the registry for documents related to commercial partnership, the issuing of certified documentation including certificates of good-standing, the reservation of Malta company names, the collection of Malta Company Registration fees. Malta Business Registry or Malta's Companies House.

Powers of the Malta Business Registry

The Malta Business Registry is responsible for the registration of new companies and commercial partnerships, the registration of documents related to commercial partnerships, the issuing of certified documentation including certificates of good-standing, the reservation of company names, the collection of registration and other fees, the publication of notices and the imposition and collection of penalties.  Further, the Malta Business Registry is charged with conducting investigations of companies and maintaining the Malta company formation and partnership register.

2020 saw the enactment of legislation granting the Malta Business Registry additional investigative powers.  The MBR's Compliance Unit was set up to conduct the screening of companies, investigate suspicious transactions and act on discrepancies found regarding the beneficial ownership of Maltese entities and their missing annual returns.  32 suspicious transactions reports were submitted by MBR’s money laundering reporting officer in 2020. New software systems also began screening foreign shareholders and changes in directorships that same year.

History of the Malta Business Registry

Malta Business Registry's (MBR) functions were previously held by the Registry of Companies as part of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA).  The Registry of Companies became a stand-alone agency and was renamed the Malta Business Registry in 2018.   It was claimed that the MBR would be the first government agency to run on blockchain technology to increase transparency and reduce bureaucratic procedures. for Malta company formation agents  The Registry's online system, first developed in 2004, was slated for replacement by the end of 2020.  The agency is expected to be fully digitised and paperless by 2021.

The agency had approximately 96,000 companies on its books in 2020 and reported a net increase of 4,472 new companies registered in 2019.  MBR reported an operational surplus of €10 million on an income of €16 million for financial year 2019.  Investments in fixed assets also totalled €6 million for the year.

The MBR's compliance record

In 2020, Malta's anti-money laundering regime was found to be adequate by an expert review of the Council of Europe (Moneyval).  This after signficant improvements of Malta's compliance regime further to the OECD recommendations on relevant information on commercial entities and annual filing rates of companies and based on research of the University of Malta on compliance of Malta companies with "the principles of good corporate governance" in Malta.  This remedial action promoted transparency in the interests of all stakeholders in Malta and internationally.  Accordingly legislation was enacted requiring the accurate publication of ownership and financial data of Malta-listed companies.  Random sampling assessments were then initiated in Spring 2020 by the MBR and over 10,000 non-compliant entities were struck-off the registry.  In July 2020, it was confirmed that 54,000 listed companies (out of circa 96,000) had complied fully with MBR regulations.