At the heart of Malta's thriving financial ecosystem lies a versatile array of fund structures tailored to meet the needs of investors, fund managers, and project promoters. Whether you're seeking to establish an investment company, an incorporated cell company, or a unit trust, Malta offers a comprehensive framework designed to facilitate efficient fund setup and management.


Discover the Possibilities:

  • Investment Companies: Explore the benefits of setting up an investment company with variable or fixed share capital, providing flexibility in fund management and investor participation.
  • Incorporated Cell Companies: Delve into the advantages of incorporating cell companies, offering segregated assets and liabilities across distinct cells within a single legal entity.
  • Limited Partnerships and Unit Trusts: Learn about the establishment of limited partnerships under the Companies Act and unit trusts under the Trust and Trustees Act, providing alternative structures for fund organization and management.


Navigating Regulatory Requirements:

A collective investment scheme (CIS) is defined by the Malta Investment Services Act as a scheme or arrangement which has as its object the collective investment of capital acquired by means of an offer of units for subscription, sale or exchange and which has any of the following characteristics:

  • The scheme or arrangement operates according to the principle of risk spreading, and either;
  • The contributions of the participants and the profits or income out of which payments are to be made to them are pooled; or
  • At the request of the holders, units are or are to be re-purchased or redeemed out of the assets of the scheme, or arrangement, continuously or in blocks at short intervals; or
  • Units are, or have been, or will be issued continuously or in blocks at short intervals.

A CIS may be set up in Malta as a:

  • SICAV (investment company with variable share capital (i.e. an open-ended fund)
  • Investment company with fixed share capital (i.e. a closed-ended fund)
  • Contractual Fund
  • Limited Partnership
  • Incorporated Cell Company; or
  • Unit Trust.

CISs can be licenced as follows:

  • UCITS Schemes: UCITS Schemes are open-ended schemes licenced in accordance with the provisions of the Investment Services Act. Within this framework these Schemes benefit from passporting rights within the EU and can hence be marketed in other EU or EEA Member States.
  • Alternative Investment Funds: This category of funds includes non-UCITS Retail Schemes and Professional Investor Funds (PIFs). Non-UCITS Retail Schemes can be open-ended or closed-ended retail schemes. On the other hand, PIFs are regulated under a separate framework which is particularly suited for funds sold internationally on a private placement basis. As is the case for UCITS, the AIF framework allows these funds to benefit from the EU passport throughout the EU.

Collective Investment schemed in Malta are monitored by the Malta Financial Services Authority which, besides having the responsibility for the licensing process, is also responsible for the regulation and ongoing supervision of Collective Investment Schemes. It is to be noted however that the following Malta CIS are exempted from the requirement to operate according to the principle of risk spreading:

  • Alternative investment funds marketed to professional investors;
  • A collective investment scheme licensed as a professional investor fund targeting qualifying investors in terms of the Investment Services Rules;
  • A collective investment scheme licensed as a professional investor fund targeting extraordinary investors in terms of the Investment Services Rules. 

The nature, structure and operation of each fund will depend on the purpose and objectives of that specific fund.


How We Can Help:

At Grant Thornton Malta, we specialize in providing comprehensive advisory and support services to fund promoters, managers, and investors seeking to navigate Malta's dynamic fund industry. Our team of experienced professionals offers tailored solutions to assist you at every stage of the fund setup and management process, from regulatory compliance to operational efficiency.

Ready to Explore Your Options? Contact Us Today.

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Taxation of Malta Collective Investment Schemes

Malta-registered collective investment schemes (CISs) are generally not subject to Malta tax. Given that CIS are properly structured, such schemes generally can take advantage of a number of tax benefits. When it comes to taxation of investors in collective investment schemes, this will depend on what type of income is being received, whether the investor is a Malta resident or not, and if the shareholder is an individual or a body-corporate?

Private funds

Private funds refer to collective investment schemes which limit the total number of participants to fifteen individuals and where the competent authority is satisfied this following points.


A UCITS is a mutual fund based in the EU that can be sold to any investor within the European Union under a harmonised regulatory regime. Designed to enhance the single market while maintaining high levels of investor protection, UCITS funds have also been successful in Asia and Latin America.


An Alternative Investment Fund is an entity or other type of collective investment scheme where funds are raised from a number of investors with a view to invest them in accordance with a defined investment policy.


NAIF refers to a fund where participating AIFs only require their AIFM to notify the governing authority (MFSA) of their set up. NAIFs do not require authorisation or approval by the authority and are not subject to ongoing supervision.


Professional Investor Funds (PIF) are Maltese regulated investment funds for professional and sophisticated investors, benefitting from a lighter regulatory regime.


Notified Professional Investor Funds (NPIFs), is a sub-category of Professional Investor Funds (PIF) which is a specialised class of non-retail collective investment schemes. NPIFs are exempt from licensing under the Act, but must be included in the MFSA's list of NPIFs.

Introduction to Funds

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Partner | Head of tax, regulatory and compliance | International Liaison Director
Wayne Pisani
Wayne Pisani
Partner | Head of tax, regulatory and compliance | International Liaison Director
Wayne Pisani