MFSA issues in-principle approvals for 14 VFA agents

(source: Unsplash/Ales Nesetril)

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The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) granted in-principle approvals of registration for 14 virtual financial asset (VFA) agents, according to a press statement the watchdog issued. The authority tags recent progress as an important milestone.

The applications by the 14 VFA agents were submitted to the authority in November 2018. VFA agents will assist issuers and service providers under the Virtual Financial Assets Act, making applications on their behalf to the authority.

The authority expects the VFA agents to serve as the “first line of defence for market integrity and public interest”, as these players will be the ones who evaluate their clients’ business plans, fitness and properness prior to submitting an application to the MFSA. The VFA agents are also subject persons under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations, the MFSA adds.

“The issuance of these in-principle approvals is an important milestone in the MFSA’s effort at becoming a regulator of excellence in the field of the regulation of crypto assets. We have worked actively since November 2017 when we started our regulatory journey in the field of crypto assets and today we have a complete framework that caters for all key areas of risk, being inter alia the risks to consumers, market integrity, financial crime and cybersecurity. We have now, seventeen weeks after receipt of the first set of applications, started to authorise entities in this sector,” said Dr Christopher P Buttigieg, Head of Securities and Markets Supervision.

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