Joseph Cuschieri resigns position to take MFSA role


Joseph Cuschieri, an accountant who has been heading the Malta Gaming Authority since Labour was returned to power in 2013, has been selected by the Office of the Prime Minster to serve as the new CEO of the Malta Financial Services Authority, The Sunday Times of Malta is informed.

The MFSA law does not contemplate the post of a CEO so the government is amending it specifically to create the position, long earmarked for Mr Cuschieri.

Since its inception in the late 1980s, when Malta laid the seeds for its now burgeoning financial services industry, the MFSA has been led by Prof. Joe Bannister, except for a short stint during the 1996-1998 Labour government when he was replaced by Edward Scicluna, today’s Finance Minister. In 1998, following the premature collapse of Alfred Sant’s Labour administration, Prof Bannister was reinstated by then Finance Minister John Dalli, known to be a close friend of his.

Despite pressure from senior Labour quarters, including repeated public calls by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo for the removal of Prof Bannister, Prime Minster Joseph Muscat has kept him in office and defended him against accusations of conflicts of interest including those revealed by the Paradise Papers.

The MGA boss has been eyeing the position at the MFSA for a long time. However, it was only after Labour’s last victory at the polls that the OPM decided to give him the position, following more dissent over the possibility of Prof. Bannister being reconfirmed. According to an amendment in the MFSA law, which still needs to be approved by Parliament, the new CEO must be selected by the board of governors of the financial regulator, which is meant to be independent.