On the 20th of October 2021, the Malta Gaming Authority (the “MGA”), published a series of amendments to the Gaming Authorisations and Compliance Directive (Directive 3 of 2018) (the “Directive”), in parallel with a new Policy on the Eligibility and Ongoing Competency Criteria for Key Persons (the “Eligibility Policy”).
This article is the third of a series on changes to the Key Functions' Requirements and shall briefly discuss the main changes brought about to Malta’s gaming regulatory framework due to Directive’s amendments and the newly published Eligibility Policy for Key Function Holders.
Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
Following the amended Directive and the requirements established under the newly issued Eligibility Policy, the bar has also been raised on the expertise and ongoing training and professional education for Key Function Holders (KFHs), which has been placed as fundamental for the proper fulfilment of the regulated role of a KFHunder the Gaming Act.
The MGA introduced mandatory CPD requirements on KFHs - an obligation on such key persons to apply ongoing efforts to obtain knowledge and keep abreast with relevant developments to the respective role, for such person to gain/retain the skill, knowledge and expertise necessary for its effective execution.
What are the CPD Requirements?
Key Persons are now required to show to the MGA that they have attained a minimum number of CPD hours each calendar year for the previous certification period, for successful renewal of their Key Function Certificate.
CPD requirements are fulfilled through active participation in qualifying professional educational activities such as attendance to relevant courses, conferences, seminars, in-house training and workshops, giving of presentations, teaching, lecturing, publication of articles, professional examinations, and other professional educational activities including vendor and system-specific presentations relevant to the role.
Minimum annual CPD requirements are 5 hours for the CEO Key Function role, while 10 hours for the roles of Key Operations, Key Compliance, Key Legal, Key Privacy, MLRO, CTO and Internal Audit.
When is Evidence of CPD Required?
Evidence that CPD requirements have been fulfilled by a Key Person needs to be provided to the MGA when applying for the renewal of the Key Function Certificate.
Prospective new Key Person applicants are not required to meet CPD requirements upon their initial application for approval in relation to any specific Key Function.
If a Key Person applies for the addition of a Key Function, such person is required to fulfil the CPD requirements pertaining to the added Key Function prior to the date of renewal of the held Key Function Certificate. The MGA will however exempt such person from adhering to the added CPD requirements if the MGA authorises the addition of such additional Key Function role within a period of 6 months before the end of the respective calendar year.
By the end of May 2022, persons who are already authorised as Key Function Holders as on the date of issuance of the Eligibility Policy, are required to apply to the MGA to be approved to fulfil the Key Roles as newly designated/amended by means of the Directive’s amendments.
Such existing Key Persons whose Role changed under the Directive are required to fulfil CPD requirements with respect to each such role they would be subsequently authorised to perform upon their first renewal, namely that following the MGA’s approval to the mentioned May 2022 Key Function authorisation application submission.
With regards to existing Key Persons who occupy Key Roles that were unchanged by the Directive, CPD requirements need to be adhered to upon the second renewal of Key Function Certification following the publication of these amendments.
Submission of evidence to the MGA of fulfilment of CPD requirements is necessary, through submission of certification and other proof of attendance or participation for Key Function renewal success, along with a reasonable justification regarding the CPD activity’s relevance to the respective role.
What if a Person Holds Multiple Key Roles?
Key Persons authorised to carry out multiple Key Functions will be required to fulfil the relevant CPD requirements for each role held.
If any CPD activity is considered relevant for multiple Key Functions held by the same person, the activity’s CPD hours gained could qualify for being counted towards the fulfilment of the CPD hourly requirements of each respective role held simultaneously.
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Article written by Senior Associate Dr Terence Cassar with the support of Legal Trainee Mr Joseph John Galea.