Our reward is in providing tailored solutions in the most efficient and ethical manner whilst nurturing lasting relationships for mutual growth and success.
Francis J. Vassallo, founder of FJVA, has a simple explanation for his company’s 20-year continued success: keep things ethical, be honest with regard to client needs and, above all, always put the client first, before anything.
Francis J. Vassallo
Adriana Camilleri Vassallo
Having set up FJVA in 1998 – alongside her father Francis J. Vassallo – Adriana has witnessed first-hand the opportunities and the challenges the financial services industry constantly faces not only in Malta, but worldwide.
She recognises the dynamic aspects of the industry and is keen to see FJVA continue to grow from the fledgling it was 20 years ago to a firm which is internationally-recognised and with international aspirations.
“I don’t think expanding internationally is any easier now than it was before, but I think we’re in the right place now to explore these opportunities,” she says. “Our home is established and Malta will remain our core. However now feels like a good time to tap into new markets.”
Educated in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Spain, Adriana graduated in Business Administration from the European Business School in London in 1996. After graduation, she joined Coopers & Lybrand’s international tax planning division before joining her father to build FJVA.
Amongst other responsibilities in the management of the firm, Adriana is responsible for the overall operations of FJVA and heads the indirect tax (VAT) department.
Adriana also heads the Compliance Department and is the appointed Compliance Officer for all the companies within the FJVA Group.
Adriana is a member of the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP) and the Malta Institute of Management (MIM).
Languages: Maltese, English, Spanish
Investment Services is where Steffan sees remarkable growth in Malta, an area he has specialised in since joining the firm in 2008.
“They’re coming here because the regulation is user friendly, the main language is English and, as a member of the EU, it is a highly professional environment that has a robust infrastructure allowing companies to be passportable into Europe.”
Graduating in Law from the University of Reading in 2002, Steffan joined EFG Private Bank Luxembourg SA in 2003.
In 2007 Steffan joined Deutsche Bank Luxembourg Private Wealth Management as Assistant Vice President.
At FJVA he heads the Investment Services and Fund Management Department.
He is a member of the Institute of Financial Practitioners (IFSP) and the International Tax Planning Association (ITPA).
Steffan is fluent in English, Italian and French and he is proficient in Spanish.
Languages: is fluent in English, Italian and French and he is proficient in Spanish.
Ruth Agius Scicluna
Attention to detail and double-checking information is what separates the wheat from the chaff in the legal and taxation world. In fact, according to Ruth, this point is so important that FJVA lives by the expression ‘the four-eyes principle’, emphasising that everything is checked by a second person.
“This gives you a fresh pair of eyes to look things over and to bounce off ideas,” she notes.
Ruth, who heads up the tax and legal advisory section, joined the firm in 2002.
She graduated in Legal and Humanistic Studies in 1999, obtained her Diploma in Notarial Studies in 2000 and her Doctorate of Law in 2002.
She undertook her law traineeship with a leading law firm in Malta, focussing on corporate and financial legislation, legal research and assisting in the drafting of legislation. Ruth then joined KPMG Malta focussing on both local and international taxation including tax consultancy, tax planning and compliance.
Ruth is a member of the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP), a member of the International Bar Association (IBA), a member of the Malta Institute of Taxation (MIT) and a member of the Chamber of Advocates of Malta.
Languages: Maltese, English and French
Luis Algueró Azqueta
Luis, a Spanish national, joined FJVA in 2014 assuming the responsibility of Regional Manager for Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. His drive in this market was so successful that he soon became a Partner of FJVA and head of business development.
“Malta offers an excellent solution for Latin American clients looking to invest in Europe. Malta’s tax regime is second to none. At FJVA we also have the great advantage of speaking various languages that our international clients really appreciate.”
He graduated in Law from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in 2003.
After a legal career in Spain, he was seconded to FJVA in 2007, and later joined the company on a full-time basis, becoming a partner in 2017.
Luis is a member of the Spanish Bar
Languages: Spanish, English
Kurt admires companies with well-spread out resources and considers this to be an ingredient to success. “A good balanced team with a blend of disciplines and backgrounds,” he notes. But more importantly, he says, you need a strong ethical base, consistency and continuity.
He joined FJVA in 2006 soon after graduating in Law. He was immediately drawn to the international aspect of financial services, specialising from the start on how to apply Malta’s tax treaty and domestic tax legislation to international corporate structures.
Kurt completed his Masters in Financial Services in 2007.
He practices corporate law and is responsible for the ongoing management of a portfolio of Maltese corporate structures.
Kurt is a member of the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP), a member of the International Bar Association (IBA), and a member of the Chamber of Advocates of Malta.
Languages: Maltese, English, Italian
To achieve the best results, companies need to understand their goals and work hard to achieve them, says Karl who joined the firm in 2009. “You need to know what you want,” he points out simply.
Karl joined FJVA from PwC, where he trained in risk management and worked within the audit and assurance practices in Jersey, Milan and London. “I was thrown in the deep end, however I was ready for it because I was career-oriented. The cultural changes opened my mind,” he notes.
At FJVA he heads up the international accounting department, where technical International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and local generally-accepted accounting principles (GAAP) advice is delivered to clients.
He gained his ACCA (Chartered Accountancy qualification) in 2000.
Languages: Maltese, English, Italian
“When establishing a company in Malta there’s a lot of emphasis on substance; to have a physical presence on the island,” says Louise. “In fact, there’s a clear shift away from companies without a presence on the island,” she adds.
Soon after graduating in Law in 2001, Louise worked in the legal unit of the Malta Stock Exchange, which gave her valuable exposure to the listing of securities on the market.
She joined FJVA in 2007 where she oversees corporate and tax law as well as civil law applicable to business.
In 2010 Louise successfully passed the Malta law option paper of the Advanced Diploma in International Taxation organised by the Chartered Institute of Taxation.
Louise is a member of the Institute of Financial Practitioners (IFSP).
Languages: Maltese, English
Sean sees the success of FJVA hinges on its ability to provide a one-stop-shop service to clients. “We take a case from the start to the end of the whole process,” he says. “This is what has made us market leaders in financial services.”
He joined the firm in 2010, after 4 years working in the audit department with a Big 4 audit firm where he worked on various engagements of both local and international exposure, and has since seen the firm double in size.
He is part of the accounting team, co-manages its daily running and he is responsible for servicing a portfolio of clients including the preparation of management accounts, liaising with external auditors, managing group consolidation in line with IFRS and local GAAP.
Sean graduated in Management in 2005 and after completing his ACCA in 2009, he was awarded CPA and Practising Certificate in auditing.
Sean is also fellow of the Malta Institute of Accountants.
Languages: Maltese, English
Melanie Cassar Darmanin
Many potential clients judge a service provider on their first impressions, and this, according to Melanie, can make or break the relationship. “The moment they get the ‘cookie cutter’ feel you’ve clearly lost touch with them,” she says. “It’s really important to keep the personal touch.”
Having joined the firm in 2009, Melanie heads the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) and Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act (FATCA) team at FJVA. She specialises in corporate law and taxation.
In 2013 Melanie obtained a Diploma in Taxation and is a member of the Notarial College, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and the Malta Institute of Taxation.
Melanie practices corporate law and is responsible for the supervision and management of a variety of Malta companies following her appointment as Associate at FJVA in 2015 as well as heading the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) team at FJVA.
Melanie is a member of the Notarial College, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP) and the Malta Institute of Taxation.
Languages: Maltese, English, Italian
Deputy Financial Controllerrowen@fjvassallo.com
Rowen joined FJVA during 2017 and is responsible for the financial aspects of the FJVA group of companies, preparation of management accounts, liaising with external auditors and monitoring of internal controls.
Rowen is a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA), a Certified Public Accountant in Malta and also a member of the Malta Institute of Accountants. He also read for the Diploma in International Financial Reporting (DipIFR). Prior to joining FJVA, Rowen was employed in the industry as an accountant of a group of companies for a period of ten years with both local and international exposure in various business sectors.
Languages: speaks Maltese, English and Italian