FinTech

WH Partners has been on the forefront of fintech and blockchain developments, working closely with industry leaders, since the industry’s early days.

Our fintech team leverages the extensive technology experience of our financial services, blockchain advisory, tax, corporate, and intellectual property practices to offer a 360° one-stop shop to assist our clients navigate the complex environment at the intersection of technology and regulation.

We have a varied client portfolio, including fintech operators, financial institutions, credit institutions, asset managers, funds, broker-dealers, capital market participants, ICO issuers, crypto exchanges, and crypto brokers. We also advise telecoms and technology industries including payment service providers and payment gateways and FinTech platform operators with complex business models. WH Partners has been the trusted advisor on all matters of Maltese law and our financial services and blockchain advisory practice groups continue to be at the cutting edge of Maltese legal and regulatory developments.

We are ranked amongst the leading law firms in Malta by the Chambers FinTech 2020 guide in the FinTech Legal practice area. The guide notes that “WH Partners is a highly regarded firm with a particularly strong technology practice. They are well versed in navigating the regulatory framework for virtual financial assets and also often advise clients on data protection, cybersecurity, and tax matters.”

Feedback to Chambers FinTech 2020 included that "They are highly skilled, knowledgeable and commercial. They come to the table to provide solutions from both a legal and a commercial perspective".

Our practice is also recognised by the Legal 500 EMEA 2020 guide, which states that “WH Partners' fintech team provides 'the full package' of work in this area”. Testimonials to Legal 500 EMEA 2020 mention that “Each individual is dedicated to the client. It’s not only the know-how but also the soft skills which separate them from others.”

The FinTech Regulatory Sandbox

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has established a FinTech Regulatory Sandbox. The Sandbox is a regulatory environment, where FinTech operators may test their innovation for a specified period of time within the financial services sectors under certain prescribed conditions. The aim is to support sustainable financial innovation, ensure regulatory certainty and promote knowledge sharing. The Sandbox will be applicable to all FinTech Service Providers and FinTech Suppliers, and other applicants that do not clearly fall within the scope of any financial services legislation currently in force in Malta.

Malta – The Blockchain Hub

Malta is currently the only European Union (EU) Member State to have adopted a 360° approach to regulating the blockchain sector.

Through three pieces of new national legislation promulgated in November of 2018, Malta became the first EU country to look beyond simply publishing consumer/investor warnings, consultation documents, and discussion papers on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and cryptos. The new Maltese laws target the DLT ecosystem as a whole, rather than merely focusing on regulating virtual currency associated business. The Maltese cryptocurrency framework, also to be referred to as the Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Framework, is composed of three Acts:

  1. The Virtual Financial Assets Act;
  2. The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act;
  3. The Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act.

These laws provide a holistic regulatory framework within the blockchain and cryptocurrency sphere. The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and the Malta Digital Innovative Authority (MDIA) were given the authority to receive and process applications for licensing for those interested in operating in Malta.

How can we help?

WH Innovation (part of WH Group) was amongst the very first companies to be registered as a VFA Agent by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). We provide tailor-made solutions and advice to very complex questions related to blockchain. The services that we offer in respect to blockchain include:

  • general advisory;
  • assistance with the registration of your whitepaper with the MFSA;
  • assistance with obtaining a VFA service provider’s license;
  • regulatory compliance;
  • drafting of internal policies and procedures;
  • legal opinions based on the MFSA’s Financial Instrument Test;
  • VFA Agency services through WH Innovation, part of WH group of companies;
  • tax advice;
  • corporate services and accounting.
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