The term “Collective Investment Scheme” (CIS) is defined in the Investment Services Act (Chapter 370) as “any scheme or arrangement which has as its object or as one of its objects the collective investment of capital acquired by means of an offer of units for subscription, sale or exchange and which has the following characteristics:

  1. the scheme or arrangement operates according to the principle of risk spreading; and either
  2. the contributions of the participants and the profits or income out of which payments are to be made to them are pooled; or
  3. 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
  4. units are, or have been, or will be issued continuously or in blocks at short intervals”.

Benefits of Collective Investment Schemes

  • Diversification of risk through pooling of funds
  • Economies of scale, allowing individual investors to make investments which they otherwise would not be able to do
  • Malta offers a flexible and versatile legal framework led by a rigorous yet practical regulator
  • UCITS and AIFs can be passported to other EU Member States
  • Tax benefits through a CIS-specific Maltese tax regime

Maltese Fund Structures

A fund can be setup as either of the following forms:

  1. an investment company with variable share capital (SICAV)
  2. an investment company with fixed share capital (INVCO)
  3. a limited partnership or partnership en commandite
  4. a unit trust
  5. a common contractual fund


Malta offers a practical and competitive framework regulating various types of CIS, primarily:

  1. Retail CIS
    • Maltese UCITS Scheme
    • Maltese Non-UCITS Scheme
    • Overseas based Non-UCITS Schemes; and
    • European UCITS Schemes
  2. Professional Investor Funds (PIFs)
  3. Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs)
  4. Notified Alternative Investment Funds (NAIFs)

The MFSA is the authority responsible for issuing licences under the Investment Services Act.

When considering a fund licence application, the MFSA will consider:

  1. The protection of investors and Malta’s reputation
  2. The track record of all the parties involved (including directors, founder shareholders and promoters of the scheme); and
  3. The ongoing adherence to the fit and proper test (integrity, competence and solvency).

For more information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr Cherise Abela Grech.

Disclaimer This article is not intended to impart legal advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them.
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