Jesmond Gatt / MFSA

Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) Chairman Jesmond Gatt on Wednesday emphasised the strong working relationship he has built with CEO Kenneth Farrugia through their time at the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).

He was speaking during the latest edition of the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) Executive Spotlight, where he was interviewed by MSE Executive Chairman Joseph Portelli, discussing a wide range of topics. One of them was Mr Gatt’s appointment as Chairman of the Board of Governors at the MFSA last February.

Mr Gatt has a career which spans more than 37 years, having served in a number of key roles at the Central Bank of Malta, including Chief Officer of Banking Operations, and he a core part of the team that oversaw the changeover to the euro in Malta in 2008. Following that, he went on to serve as Chairman of the FIAU, a position he held until December 2022, before taking on his new position at the MFSA.

Kenneth Farrugia / MFSA
MFSA CEO Kenneth Farrugia / MFSA

Just a couple of months after his departure, Mr Gatt was reunited with Mr Farrugia, who was previously Director at the FIAU, with the latter joining the MFSA as its new CEO.

Asked how he gets on with Mr Farrugia, Mr Gatt said that it is “so easy” to work with a person whose intentions are “public interest and efficiency at the workforce”.

“It’s easy to interact with someone you have a common vision with,” he stated.

Mr Gatt remarked that at the FIAU, they had “quite a hard time”, as they had joined at a time when it “lacked resources to address the realities of a growing financial industry”. From then on, they agreed with the FIAU’s Board of Directors to roll out a development plan, and the unit grew, yet more was still needed.

“International regulations increased over time, forcing additional work on the FIAU and so we had to implement that on the ground with the staff that we would train,” he explained.

Mr Portelli then shifted the conversation to today, focusing on the pair’s working relationship at the MFSA.

“The fact we share a common vision makes us a good team. The objectives and priorities we have are common, so we don’t find difficulties with execution,” Mr Gatt said.

“We respect each other and our roles as Chairman and CEO, and that makes it quite an interesting situation,” he continued.

Given his experience in the financial industry, Mr Gatt has become a leader in the area. In this respect, Mr Portelli then asked him what qualities he feels are “paramount” for aspiring business leaders, to which Mr Gatt identified four.

He highlighted the traits of being hard working, as well as engaging with the audience one is working with.

Additionally, he said that it is important to be resilient, as “there are many who give up”. Mr Gatt concluded by mentioning the quality of foresight and being able to look ahead beyond the present situation for long-term benefits.

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MFSA Chairman Jesmond Gatt / MFSA

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