Joseph Gavin MFSA CEO

Joseph Gavin, the CEO of the Malta Financial Services Authority, is to step down later this year, according to a brief statement issued by the regulator.

“Following his recent absence for medical reasons, Chief Executive Officer Joseph Gavin has decided to retire early and will be stepping down as CEO of the MFSA later this year,” the statement read.

The absence refers to a six-week period where Mr Gavin was “indisposed”, from which he returned a week ago, on Friday 29th July.

In his absence, Michelle Mizzi Buontempo was named acting CEO, and was described as having over twenty years of experience in the regulation and supervision of different areas within financial services, including supervision of investment firms and fiduciaries.

Just two days after Mr Gavin’s temporary departure, it was officially confirmed that Malta was getting off the Financial Action Task Force list of increased monitoring, the so-called grey list – a major development for the country’s economy.

Asked to comment on Mr Gavin’s return, an MFSA spokesperson said:

“CEO Joseph Gavin resumed his role on 28 July and immediately rolled up his sleeves to continue with his work.

“Over the past few weeks – as well as going forward – it has been ‘business as usual’ at the MFSA.”

Mr Gavin assumed his role at the helm of the country’s financial services supervisory authority in September 2021. He is the first foreign national to be appointed to the important role.

He was selected following an open call for applications through local and international channels.

Mr Gavin acted as General Counsel within the Central Bank of Ireland between 2009 and 2015, at a time in which the Irish regulator was undergoing significant policy and structural change, and he was instrumental in guiding the Irish watchdog during a sensitive time, post-recession.

He was more recently employed as a Partner and Head of Financial Services at an Irish law firm, providing specialist input in areas relating to regulation and enforcement in financial services.

Shortly after taking the reins of the MFSA, Mr Gavin asked Times of Malta for an interview, only to angrily terminate it after objecting to the newspaper’s line of questioning, including whether he had delved into potential failures at the regulator that led to the licensing of Nemea Bank, Pilatus Bank and Satabank, all three of which had their Maltese licences withdrawn by the European Central Bank.

When asked if he planned to introduce revolving doors policies at the regulator, Mr Gavin famously asked what a revolving door policy is, and whether the interviewer was being serious.

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