Finance

MFSA introduces new Equity Release conduct rules to address customer vulnerability

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has published for consultation new conduct of business rules which are intended to regulate the Equity Release Financial Products.
Since the applicable Regulations came into effect on 1st September 2019, and considering the fact that this product shall be offered to pensioners, the MFSA felt the necessity to supplement the Regulations with specific Conduct of Business Rules. These Rules include registration requirements for credit and financial institutions intending to provide this product, their sales practices, record keeping, information provided to customers and complaints handling.

The MFSA’s aim is to ensure that customers will be able to make an informed decision and are aware of the procedure necessary to submit a complaint in the event that the services provided by the credit or financial institution are not satisfactory.
The MFSA plans to consult with the industry and general public on these rules as it has recently issued the first of five Chapters for feedback. This chapter focusses on registration requirements and proposes that all banks and financial institutions planning to offer this product should register with the MFSA. Chapter 1 also specifies the knowledge and experience requirements for the staff tasked to provide Equity Release Financial Products to consumers. Entities which are already providing this product will have a transitional period of one year to abide by the Rules and Regulations.

This Consultation is open to the general public until 10th September 2019. Industry participants and interested parties are invited to submit their feedback via email to equityrelease@mfsa.com.mt.