Malcolm Booker was appointed CEO of Deloitte Malta in January 2014, after practising in the firm’s tax department for the past 20 years, serving nearly exclusively international tax clients. He spoke to The Report Company about the importance of Malta for the firm, and where he sees opportunities for growth.
The Report Company: What does Malta means for Deloitte?
Malcolm Booker: Malta, as an EU member state, has a very developed professional services environment together with a rapidly-developing financial services sector. As one of the Big Four professional services firms in the world, Deloitte has a key role to play in Malta in helping further develop this sector.
TRC: What is Deloitte’s strategy for the Maltese market?
MB: Deloitte approach the Maltese market like they would any other market, through the provision of the highest quality professional services as adapted for the commercial realities of the local market.
TRC: What would you identify as the key drivers of the success of Malta as a financial services centre?
MB: The drivers have certainly been efficiency, professionalism and a consistent proactive attitude by all interested parties in this sector. As a member of the EU, Malta imposes the highest standards of regulatory environment which we feel contribute to this success.
TRC: What are the important factors in marketing Malta worldwide as an investment destination?
MB: Investors are typically looking for a jurisdiction which can guarantee political and financial stability, an efficient workforce, together with an appropriate regulatory framework. Malta possesses all these attributes and needs to ensure that these realities are continually and adequately communicated worldwide.
TRC: What can you tell us about Deloitte’s tax bundle app, and how has Malta received this initiative?
MB: The tax bundle app has been received with enormous enthusiasm, not only by our clients, but also by the professional field at large. It is equally used and appreciated by students. Deloitte embraces and encourages all forms of innovation across its services and operations. We strive to create an environment which rewards and facilitates the generation of new ideas and which challenges the status quo. We are apprehensive of the powers of disruption technologies and need to consistently ensure that we remain at the forefront of change.
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TRC: Deloitte recently launched Deloitte University Europe, the Middle East and Africa (DU EMEA). What is the thinking behind this?
MB: DU EMEA is an exciting new reality in Europe. It has been developed as a result of the enormous success of Deloitte University in Texas. I have personally witnessed the power of Deloitte University in Texas, and the enthusiasm, energy and professionalism that such a concept exudes. I have no doubt that DU EMEA will enjoy the same overwhelming success.
TRC: How does Malta differ from other financial centres in Europe?
MB: Each jurisdiction possesses its own particular attributes. This may be in relation to the system of taxation, the applicability or otherwise of tax treaties and the particular jurisdictional focus. Investors would normally consider each of these attributes before considering investment.
TRC: Which are Deloitte’s major clients and in which sector do you foresee more potential for growth?
MB: As one would imagine, Deloitte Malta’s clients span across all areas of business, including both private and public enterprises. Deloitte Malta is proud to be the largest professional services provider in the areas of international business and financial services, both of which are areas where Malta is particularly strong, and where we see the greatest potential for growth.
TRC: What is Deloitte Malta doing with regard to human resources development?
MB: The provision of outstanding professional services is only possible through the recruitment and training of outstanding individuals. At Deloitte Malta we seek to achieve this talent development through the implementation of specific training and professional development programs throughout the professional life of staff and directors. This training and development takes place both in Malta and overseas. We seek to ensure that our people are exposed to the best trainers and to the best development resources available, both within and outside Deloitte.
“Deloitte Malta is proud to be the largest professional services provider in the areas of international business and financial services, both of which are areas where Malta is particularly strong, and where we see the greatest potential for growth.”Tweet This
TRC: What needs to be done to ensure Malta remains as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment?
MB: In my view, for Malta to remain an attractive FDI destination it must continue to ensure that it remains competitive, innovative and efficient. I have no doubt that Malta will continue to possess these attributes in the future as it has done so successfully in the past.
TRC: Do you consider there are reforms necessary to foster the development of Malta’s economy?
MB: Like all economies, the Maltese economy needs to be suitably managed and driven in the direction which sees controlled public debt, increased output and acceptable unemployment figures. I am confident that the Maltese economy is on the right path for this. Pension reform remains, however, an important challenge for the country.
TRC: How would you Malta to be perceived on an international level, particularly within the Chinese market?
MB: I am confident that Malta’s reputation in the international arena will continue to grow as it has done over the last 30 years or so. We have had, and continue to have, a strong economy and an extremely stable political environment. Our legislation is robust yet flexible. Our professional service is efficient and of extremely high standards. I am certain that those who have interacted with us can vouch for this. For the Chinese in particular we can offer an important gateway not only into Europe but also into North Africa.
TRC: What would you like to achieve during your time in your role?
MB: I would like to build on the success achieved by my predecessor and continue to grow the firm and provide outstanding value to our clients. In addition, I will strive to ensure that we continue to offer the best professional development opportunities to staff and directors. Ultimately the aspirational goal is to be the standard of excellence in all that we do.