Hang on a minute: the US Securities Exchange Commission has signed an offshore agreement with Malta?

The US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has confirmed the Malta Exchange as a “designated offshore securities market“. There is more info on the SEC website here and here.

I’m trying to find out exactly what the implications are in plain language, but so far can only find dense legalese; what it seems to mean is that it is now easier for US persons to trade on the Malta stock exchange.

Malta was cited as a tax haven in a US Congressional report as recently as January 2013, has a score of 48 points out of 100 on the Financial Secrecy Index, and a google search for “offshore company incorporation Malta” leads to multiple suppliers.

Maltese media coverage is positive: ” US Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley recently visited the Malta Stock Exchange…the Ambassador noted that this designation provides a further example of the strong and growing economic relationship between Malta and the United States.”

I can’t find a list of designated offshore markets on the SEC website although there are references to the Channel Islands and the Bahamas. According to this source there are 27 stock exchanges which are designated offshore securities markets including Frankfurt, London, Luxembourg, Bermuda, and Zurich.

Any background information or analysis to help understand this would be much appreciated.

PS: After just 2 weeks, the Monitor has reached 500 views! Many thanks to all readers out there, wordpress stats has a map showing that the views are from over 30 countries.


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