The Mediterranean island of Malta saw the direct economic contribution made by its financial services sector nearly double in the five year period ending in December 2012 – a period of considerable turmoil and consolidation in many other jurisdictions, particularly elsewhere in the European Union. According to preliminary data from Malta’s National Statistics Office, the financial services sector was directly responsible for 8.5% of the Maltese economy’s gross domestic product last year, up from 4.5% in 2008.
That was the year that New York-based Lehman Brothers collapsed, several of Iceland’s banks were placed in receivership, and a number of UK banks were bailed out by the British government. The financial sector’s wider contribution to the Maltese economy, through such ancillary professional and business services as law, accounting and similar types of businesses, is difficult to measure, but is thought to bring the total share of GDP attributable to financial services to “roughly 15%”, according to Malta Financial Services Authority chairman Joe Bannister.
Comparable figures for 2008 are not available. Direct employment in direct financial intermediation services is now around 9,000, up from 6,200 at the end of 2008, or equal to about 6% of the working population of a little more than 150,000, Bannister said. “An additional 1,000 professional jobs, such as legal, accounting and so on, and 500 administrative jobs are estimated have been created as a result of demand from the financial services sector over the same five-year period,” he added.