We recently interviewed David Worthington, Associate Director of Foremost Currency Group, on why he thinks so many British people choose Malta as their European property choice.
1. Why do you think British people choose Malta over other European countries?
Malta is a vibrant and historic island that draws you in from your very first visit and brings you back time and again to discover something new and amazing; no mean feat for a tiny island slap bang in the middle of the Med! The obvious reason for its popularity with Brits is just that; Malta’s Mediterranean climate and convenient location combined with the unique blend of Maltese and British culture that have evolved out of 7,000 years of unique history. I remember after first visiting the island on business and returning home to my wife, I booked the family holiday for the next year to take her and our daughter to see the islands. We had a great holiday and thankfully she loved it just as much as I did! Putting my sensible hat back on for a moment, the financial system and health care arrangements really do give Malta an edge for expats and investors alike when comparing to other equally charming European destinations.
2. How long have you worked with clients buying in Malta?
Good question! Most of the clients I work with tend to be buying in Europe, which has been for 11 years now! I do remember one of the first clients I assisted buying in Malta, a Mr Xuereb which was back in 2008/9. I remember it particularly because at the time I had absolutely no idea how to even begin pronouncing his name and it has stuck with me since! A lot of Maltese names and place names can be a real tongue twister for Brits but you do start to get used to them, thankfully! Mr Xuereb eventually bought with Frank Salt and since then I have expanded my network of associates in Malta and am very proud to have signed and maintained a contract with Frank Salt Real Estate agency as their recommended currency exchange broker for the past 3 years.
3. Are there any complications for English buyers setting up bank accounts and moving money across to Malta?
It’s not necessarily that it’s overly complicated but it just takes so long! The biggest gripe I have heard, in the last 2 years especially, is how long it takes to open up a bank account in Malta. Even customers who bank with international banks based in the UK and Malta have had to wait 3/4/5 months before the accounts are opened. I do, from a regulatory stand point understand a cautious, risk based approach, to regulations and Due Diligence (I couldn’t do my job if didn’t!) but it does seem an extremely bureaucratic and slow paced system in Malta at the moment. We receive a lot of testimonials based on the fact that we can send clients funds directly to the notaries on the island, many of whom we know well from previous dealings, expediting the customers property purchase. We can also hold our clients’ funds, their savings and pensions for example, on account here at pre-agreed rates until their bank account is finally open. This service has been really popular recently.
4. Do most Malta buyers purchase to move to Malta permanently, rental or investment?
It’s a real mix recently. Traditionally I would have mainly said the retiree market and holiday homes dominated but with the incredible and consistent performance of the Maltese property market, international investors have really contributed to the mix of people I assist buying in Malta. The heat in the rental market also drives this, Malta’s growing international business presence is driving young talented workers to the island and fuelling the rental and investment side too. It will have to go some way to displace the market looking for their slice of the Maltese good life though!
5. How do you support them through the buying process?
As mentioned above, a lot of it comes down to support through the whole process, knowing the agents, the notaries and the processes involved. Obviously I am here to be a currency broker and ultimately make sure customers save money on their exchange – that’s the bottom line, but I often find myself being a useful go between and information source for customers too. We also make sure we are a one stop shop for your exchange needs. We don’t just leave you to your bank after the main trades, we will look after any trade including regular pensions, one off account top ups and even bringing funds back the other way if the need arises, and often does!
6. What is your core aim when working with the client?
I want every customer referred to me to feel they would be happy in recommending my services to their friends and family. A phrase I was told many years ago has always stuck with me and it went something like this:
“In Malta you can make a friend for life, but if you make an enemy, it is for life too.”
I am very proud and work very hard to be recommended as a currency broker by Frank Salt Real Estate. It is a major contract in my career so looking after the customers they refer to me, no matter what, is the core aim.
A little bit about David.
David Worthington, has been an Associate Director of Foremost Currency Group since 2006, and has helped over 1500 clients move money abroad, swiftly, securely and with excellent rates of exchange.
Want to talk to David about the sterling and currency movements expected for 2017? Call him on +44(0)1442 892079 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org