Commerical Courrier: A local firm with global outreach

Less than one year after it opened for business, Rosemont  Malta is fast establishing itself in the local financial services sector. Martina Said, from Commercial Courrier meets its Directors to find out about the company’s portfolio of services and plans for growth.

Set up in April 2017 and licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority in January 2018, Rosemont Malta is a small but growing firm with great aspirations. I meet Mark Ciappara and Rishi Bonello at their office in Sliema – one of a group of offices dotted around the globe forming part of the Rosemont International brand.

Rosemont is an international company with its head office based in Monaco, and with a presence in the UK, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Andorra, Mauritius and Vietnam. The Rosemont office in Malta is geared to provide a number of boutique services, ranging from the setting up of companies, yacht registration, residency and citizenship solutions to corporate structuring and administrative services, which would target clients mainly from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East,”  they explain.

The services offered by the firm are varied. Rosemont Malta provides advice on the choice of business entity; company formation including the provision of registered office, directorship and company secretarial services; back-office support and administration; yacht registration and structuring; tax planning and payroll services. Rosemont Malta is also able to assist clients on local residency and citizenship solutions, where the company holds the necessary licenses to act as an agent for various schemes, including the Individual Investor Programme (IIP) and the Malta Residency and Visa Programme.

The Group’s structuring and international nature allows to target clients from all over the Group and hailing from different industries, all of whom are handled by a team of over 70 professionals, ranging from lawyers, accountants and solicitors to tax advisors and notaries. “Although Rosemont is rooted globally through its various offices which are managed separately, we all form part of a well-recognised international brand. We share resources, ideas and knowledge easily across our offices and through the alliances that we have in place” says Mr Ciappara.

One of the firm’s top services is yacht management, with a dedicated company based in Monaco that exclusively focuses on providing such services. “The yacht management service we offer through this company is a comprehensive 360-degree service on yacht structuring – from negotiating to the purchasing or construction of the yacht to the registration, mortgage and management of the yacht, including health and safety, crew payroll and all” Mr Bonello says.

Mr Ciappara adds that this service alone gives Rosemont Malta a competitive advantage in this field. “We can register a vessel in Malta, obtain the Maltese Flag and then co-ordinate with our Monaco Yacht management team to continue with the  administration, legal works and the overall management of the vessel. This is where our synergies work in a very efficient manner.

The Directors are quick to add that the work that’s been done by successive local governments in the yachting sector has been crucial in putting Malta on the map. “The Malta flag is now the fifth largest registry in the world, and considered number one in terms of reputation across the EU.”  Moving on to the main challenges within the local financial services industry, Mr Bonello and Mr Ciappara are in agreement over one major challenge, which relates to the local banking sector. “Unfortunately, local banks are shying away from corporate business and hence it is becoming increasingly difficult to open a company bank account for foreign individuals in Malta” they explain.

The Directors add that, while they understand that banks have their own challenges as they’re highly regulated by international bodies too, they are an integral part of the system, which is why it’s important for both sides to come together to find a middle ground. Beyond this, they add that another challenge in their industry is compliance. “Certain improvements on client checks were welcomed by everyone in the industry, as it gives us more credibility and stability as service providers. However, compliance does place a lot of pressure and often, there’s little time to spare to add value to the client, particularly for a firm the
size of ours.

Despite the restrictions, the emergence of new technologies, such as blockchain, is proving to be quite the opportunity, which the firm believes is a positive prospect for all service providers, if done properly. “Our international network of offices is already widely involved in blockchain, which is an added advantage for our firm,” say Mr Ciappara and Mr Bonello. “Locally, we intend to obtain the necessary licence to act as a Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) agent, and with Malta being the first country to regulate blockchain and VFAs, being a Malta company operating within the local market is definitely an opportunity for quality business. That said, blockchain will be an opportunity for the whole country – it will shape the way we do things and the way
Government interacts with civil society – it will be exciting to see where we will be in a few years’ from now on this front.

The firm believes that Malta offers plenty of other opportunities in different sectors, one of which is the real estate sector. “Real estate planning for high net-worth clients is a niche market for our Monaco office,
but it has yet to pick up the pace locally. In light of the current construction boom, there are many properties out there over the €1 million mark that can be marketed not just to citizens interested in citizenship or visa schemes, but even to clients who simply want to own property in Malta, and that is something that we need to focus on more as a jurisdiction.

Looking ahead, Mr Bonello and Mr Ciappara are seeking to concentrate on new and emerging markets in the near future, particularly relating to blockchain and real estate planning, but also in the area of commercial shipping.

While already a success story in Malta, Rosemont International hasn’t exploited commercial shipping as yet, having focused on the superyacht segment so far. With Malta being the right jurisdiction to explore this – which, along with Monaco, Hong Kong and Singapore is a strong commercial shipping hub, be it for management or vessel registration – it’s an area that certainly merits looking into. We also intend to expand the workforce of the local office significantly by the end of 2019.

Article originaly published in Commercial Courrier.