A new regulatory framework for Company Service Providers

The Company Service Providers (Amendment) Act, 2020 (Amendment Act) was enacted last year through Act No. L of 2020. The Amendment Act has since come into force on 16 March 2021, introducing the new Company Service Providers (CSPs) regulatory regime.

First and foremost, under the new CSP regime, CSPs shall now be ‘authorised’ by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) to provide company services and therefore, the registration procedure shall not remain applicable. However, existing CSP registrations will automatically be converted to CSP authorisations and the MFSA shall notify the CSPs as to their CSP class categorisation.

The CSP class categorisation refers to the classification of CSPs into three classes:.

Class A CSP A CSP authorised to provide, by way of its business, the following services to third parties; (i) formation of companies or other legal entities services, and, or (ii) the provision of a registered office/business correspondence/administrative address or other related service for a company, partnership or any other legal entity.
Class B CSP A CSP authorised to provide, by way of its business, the service to third parties of acting as, or arranging for another person to act as director or secretary of a company, a partner in a partnership or in a similar position in relation to other legal entities.
Class C CSP A CSP authorised to provide, by way of its business, all of the services of a company service provider specified in the definition of CSP contained in article 2(1) of the Act.

Most notably of the amendments refers to the removal of the exemptions from registration applicable to warranted professionals and de minimis operators. Persons providing company services under the exemptions shall apply for authorisation to continue providing the services in terms of the CSP Act within the next two months. Following the lapse of the two-month period, the MFSA shall notify the applicants as to the status of their application and the CSP class categorisation during the following six months.