FJVA - Company Founder

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

Founder

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Adriana Camilleri Vassallo

Adriana Camilleri Vassallo

Partner / CEO / Director

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. 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 the Group and heads the indirect tax (VAT) department.

She is a member of the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and the Malta Institute of Management.

Motto: “The only time Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Spanish

Steffan Vassallo

Steffan Vassallo

Partner / Director

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.

He is a member of the Institute of Financial Practitioners (IFSP) and the International Tax Planning Association (ITPA).

Motto: “Facts on the table – long term friendship.”

Languages: English, Italian, French, Spanish

Dr. Ruth Agius Scicluna Buttigieg

Dr. Ruth Agius Scicluna Buttigieg

Partner / Director

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 advisory section, joined the firm in 2002, and is also a director of FJV Fiduciary Ltd. and FJV Management Ltd. 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.

Motto:”Communication is the key.”

Languages: Maltese, English and French

Luis Algueró Azqueta

Luis Algueró Azqueta

Partner

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 his drive in this market was so successful that he soon became a Partner of FJVA.

“Malta offers an excellent solution for Latin American clients looking to invest in Europe. Malta’s tax effiient 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.

Motto: “Little things make a difference.”

Languages: Spanish, English

Dr. Kurt Risiott

Dr. Kurt Risiott

Partner

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.

Motto: “It’s not about the money; it’s about the relationship.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Italian

Karl Buttigieg

Karl Buttigieg

Partner

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.

Motto: “Prioritisation and planning are keys to success.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Italian

Sean Vassallo

Sean Vassallo

Associate

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 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 completed his ACCA in 2009 while at KPMG.

Sean is also fellow of the Malta Institute of Accountants.

Motto: “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

Languages: Maltese, English

Daniel Bonello

Daniel Bonello

Associate

Daniel joined FJVA seven years ago as an accountant and was made associate in 2020.

“When working in accounts there’s the luxury of hindsight. You can plan a year’s work because it’s the previous year’s financial year. So with good planning, you can provide efficiency and expediency.”

He adds: “Because of this hindsight there shouldn’t be any excuse for delays. Any ad hoc requests can be catered for, such as an analysis on financial results to present to the board or a financial request for a shareholder meeting. These ad hoc requests is what make our job interesting.”

Before joining FJVA Daniel obtained his ACCA while working for international financial advisory firms.

 

Motto: “The strength of a team is its individual team members.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Italian.

Jean Pierre Busuttil

Jean Pierre Busuttil

Financial Controller

Having worked in a wide range of industries before joining FJVA in 2019, Busuttil attests to common ground in all: “Every business is the same; input, process, output. You then monitor the cash flow.”

He has formed a clear vision of how his role is defined in order to further efficiency within the firm. “Ultimately, the Financer goal is to give visibility to the Board to enable them to make informed decisions.”

Efficiency within the firm has also been applied to the IT system – which is regularly updated and modernised – to facilitate the cash flow process and avoid the duplication of work.

Motto: “The ingredients for success are integrity, teamwork and empowering employees.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Italian.

Nicholas Warren

Nicholas Warren

Head of Regulatory

Having worked within the regulatory environment in banking, investment services, blockchain and investment funds, Nicholas joined FJVA in 2019 well-equipped to oversee the firm’s regulatory division.

“The biggest issue in regulatory matters is the changing landscape of regulation. You need to be on the ball of everything,” he notes.

Among Malta’s advantages in this area are its flexibility to meet with the regulator; open discussion with the regulator to bounce off ideas; the jurisdiction’s ‘nimbleness’ to get licenses across the line in a shorter period of time.

Against this backdrop, he describes Malta as a good environment to test new products to assess their compatibility with EU legislation.

Motto: “You are as strong as your weakest link.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Italian, French.

Anita Mirasole

Anita Mirasole

Head of Corporate

Anita joined FJVA in 2020 after having successfully built a corporate services team, from scratch, at the law firm where she worked. Without a doubt she is optimistic about the future of corporate service providers in Malta, although she recognises the challenges they face.

“The laws and regulations are always changing. But it’s interesting as you have to constantly fnd ways of developing and adapting while trying not to disrupt the client too much.”

Undaunted, Anita is also juggling an MBA in Business Administration at Henley Business School, to add to the various industry certifcates she obtained over the years.

Motto: “Integrity, trust and consistency are the foundations for strong business and personal relationships.”

Languages: Maltese, English.

Lorraine Shaw

Lorraine Shaw

Head of Banking

Lorraine brings a wealth of banking background to the firm, having worked in the sector for 30 years. She joined FJVA three years ago.

“I believe in core values and communication. Alone you can be as strong as you like, but as a team you’re unstoppable.”

One weakness in the banking sector, worldwide, is the lack of communication in a common language.

“You can have issues like billing and banking jargon which can cause a breakdown in communication. So here at FJVA we insist and emphasise proper communication. I ensure my team is always drilling to avoid errors. My nickname is the Tiger with the golden heart.”

Motto: “A team shines, together.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Italian, Arabic

Jean Karl Portelli

Jean Karl Portelli

Head of Corporate Compliance

Heading up a new unit at FJVA, Jean-Karl joined the firm in 2019. He joins from Malta’s Business Registry where he worked for 22 years, putting him in pole position to identify the most efficient way of reviewing documents to be filed with the Registry.

“I’m a sort of filter; I filter documents before they’re filed. It makes the process efficient, avoiding the frustration of reverting documents back to clients and the subsequent delays.”

Jean-Karl is keen on the continued upgrade of online filing; in 2019 the firm introduced the online filing of annual returns which he can sign off with his digital signature and submit to the Registry.

Motto: “Loyalty, good values and commitment are essential in life.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Italian

Rosanne Darmanin Galea

Rosanne Darmanin Galea

MLRO

Carrying out the firm’s central role of Money Laundering Reporting Officer, Rosanne joined the firm 12 years ago after a 22-year career in the banking sector.

“I saw Know-Your-Client growing in Malta from the very early stages before we joined the EU. Clearly, since 9/11 things have become a lot more rigorous.” In fact, her role requires continuous training where she could be attending up to eight courses a year.

Known as the firm’s “gatekeeper”, her role is non-client facing, however, she works closely with the compliance team to better guide clients on obligations and documentary requirements.

“You have to love this job and I take pride in what I do,” she notes.

Motto: “You do the best you can.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Italian, (Spanish elementary).

Gloria Borg

Gloria Borg

Senior AML Compliance Executive

Gloria joined FJVA in 2020 after a remarkable 30-year long post with a local bank where she oversaw credit and compliance procedures.

“In compliance you’re always looking for the ‘why’, for instance,why is an activity happening? ” she notes .“That makes my department the gatekeepers of the company. We protect the company from reputational damage.”

She explains compliance isn’t about saying ‘no’, but about protecting society and stakeholders. After all, if their image is tarnished there are repercussions for all.

She adds that her area of expertise is constantly updated with new regulatory requirements. “Yet it’s not just about regulatory obligations but about doing the right thing. Basically, it’s not business at all costs.”

 

Motto: “Always act with honesty and treat everyone with respect in all business, social and personal relationships.”

Languages: Maltese, English, Italian.

Rowen Bugeja

Rowen Bugeja

Head of Financial Reporting

Since joining in 2016, Rowen has overseen the expansion and amalgamation of the finance and accounts division, covering in all FJVA’s 10 companies.

While with the firm Rowen has endeavoured to streamline the internal finance procedures and IT systems so that the process works efficiently.
“In many instances clients contact the finance department directly, going straight to the point. This way you minimise any delays in the communication process.”

In fact, he notes, the upgrades in the finance department triggered a project to automate and integrate software across the whole group.

“It helps with time management and in this business time management is crucial.”

Motto: “It’s not how much you work, it’s how you work.”

Languages: Maltese, English and Italian

Marcelle Grixti Maniscalco

Marcelle Grixti Maniscalco

Head of Operations

Having joined FJVA in 2004, Marcelle’s main aim is to keep the ship in shape so that everything internally operates efficiently. Marcelle started out as an all-rounder. Today this has equipped her with a clear understanding of how all the different divisions within the firm work together.

“I make sure all employees have their needs met so that they are effective and efficient.”

Additionally, Marcelle oversees and explains the company’s policies and procedures to all employees, reinforcing the firm’s cultural and ethical principles. “You need strong communication skills and critical thinking as well as problem-solving, motivation, and patience.”

Motto: “The tiny things you can sometimes ignore could be the most essential.”

Languages: Maltese, English