Our People

Francis J. Vassallo – Partner
President/Managing Director

Francis J. Vassallo, founder of the group, is a former Governor of the Central Bank of Malta. Francis J. Vassallo occupied several senior positions during his 25 year international career with Chase Manhattan Bank during which time he was a member of the Board of several Chase subsidiaries in Luxembourg, the Channel Islands and in Spain. Between 1987 and 1991, Francis J. Vassallo was general manager of Chase Manhattan Bank in Spain and responsible for the setting-up of private banking and capital markets. Francis J. Vassallo was then appointed general manager of Chase Private Bank in Switzerland, where he remained until September 1993. Back in Malta, and prior to founding the Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Group, Francis J. Vassallo was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Malta during the crucial time of the introduction into Malta legislation of the financial services package, which office he held until 1997.

Francis is a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, has been awarded the National Order of Merit by the President of Malta and the Order of Isabel La Catolica by the King of Spain. Francis was also appointed Special Envoy to the previous Malta administration to negotatiate double taxation agreements with Latin American countries.

 

Adriana Camilleri Vassallo – Partner
Director/Head of Operations

Adriana studied in Switzerland, Spain and the UK and graduated in 1996 from the European Business School, a leading business school in London with a BA (Hons) in Business Administration. Following graduation Adriana gained experience at Coopers & Lybrand where she focussed mainly on international tax planning. In 1998, together with Mr Francis J. Vassallo, Adriana was instrumental in setting-up Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd. Adriana is currently a director of Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd, FJV Fiduciary Ltd, FJV Management Ltd and FJV Aviation Ltd, all forming part of the FJVA Group of Companies. Her main responsibilities include providing tax planning solutions to a vast portfolio of international clients as well as the overall administration of a substantial number of companies within international tax structures. Adriana is appointed Company Secretary for a number of Malta companies and also heads the experienced VAT (Value Added Tax) team within the Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd’s group of companies. Adriana also heads the Compliance Department and is the appointed MLRO and 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).

 

Ruth Agius Scicluna Buttigieg – Partner
Head of Tax and Legal

Ruth read law at the University of Malta, graduating with a first class degree in B.A. Legal & Humanistic studies in 1999, Diploma in Notarial Studies in 2000 and Doctorate of Law in 2002. She undertook her law traineeship with a leading law firm in Malta, focussing on corporate and financial legislation, undertaking 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 joined Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd in October 2002. Ruth is currently Head of Tax & Legal, a director of FJV Fiduciary Ltd and a director of FJV Management Ltd. Her main responsibilities are in relation to the provision of advice and tax and trust planning opportunities.

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.

 

Steffan Vassallo – Partner
Director/ Head of Regulatory Business

Steffan read law at the University of Reading, graduating in 2002. Steffan joined EFG Private Bank Luxembourg S.A. in August 2003 where his main responsibilities focussed on managing the financial portfolios of High Net Worth Individuals from Benelux and Western European countries. His expertise lay in advising clients, both private and institutional, with regard to the suitability and appropriateness of financial products to match risk/reward profile and maximise investor returns. In 2007 Steffan joined Deutsche Bank Luxembourg Private Wealth Management as Assistant Vice President. Steffan went on to join Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd and was appointed Director in 2012. Steffan is currently responsible for the regulated business within the firm currently sitting as Director/Investment Committee Member on a select number of MFSA regulated funds and Investment Management Companies. Together with his responsibilities relating to advising clients on regulatory issues in Malta, he also forms part of the tax planning advisory team providing tax planning solutions to the firm’s clientele. Steffan is also responsible for Marketing of Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd.

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

 

Dr. Kurt Risiott – Partner

Kurt Risiott studied at the University of Malta and graduated as Doctor of Laws in 2005 and went on to complete his Masters Degree in Financial Services in 2007. Kurt joined Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd in November 2006 where he focused on the application of Malta’s tax treaty network and domestic tax legislation to international corporate structures. Kurt has taken initiatives both locally and internationally to promote Malta as a jurisdiction for doing business with particular emphasis on emerging markets and developing jurisdictions. Kurt practices corporate law and is responsible for the ongoing management of a portfolio of Maltese corporate structures. Kurt became an Associate of Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd in 2011 and is also a Director of FJV Management Ltd.

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.

 

Karl Buttigieg – Partner – Head of Accounts

Karl Buttigieg gained his Chartered Accountancy qualification (ACCA) in 2000. Karl began his career as a trainee accountant with PwC Malta in 1996. Upon qualification, he worked in the PwC audit and assurance practices in Jersey, Milan and London where he gained considerable experience working on a diversified portfolio of multinational clients from various market segments. During the time spent in Italy and the UK, Karl managed inter-office audit reporting engagements and consolidation exercises which provided excellent opportunities to interact with, and service, clients across the globe. Karl also actively participated in a number of financial due diligence engagements and other specialised advisory assignments.

Karl joined Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd in 2009 to head the international accounting department. Karl is currently responsible for co-ordinating the day-to-day running of the accounts department and is also involved in group consolidation exercises and in providing technical IFRS and local GAAP advice to the company’s client base.

 

Luis Algueró Azqueta – Partner – Head of Marketing

Luis Alguero graduated in law from Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and has been a member of the Madrid Bar Association since 2003. He started his career focusing his legal work mainly in company and commercial law, and then he specialised in coordinating the international development projects for different law firms in Spain. In such role, he obtained valuable exposure in counselling businesses in different sectors and industries, with special focus in the Iberian peninsula and Latin America. During his professional career, he has occupied various roles focusing on business development, corporate management and the coordination of the Institutional Relations. He is also one of the founders of the Maltese Spanish Chamber of Commerce and he is also one of the members of the board.

After being seconded to Francis J Vassallo & Associates Ltd in 2007, Luis later joined the Group in 2014. He is the Partner responsible for marketing and business development with particular focus on for the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America.

 

Dr. Louise Chircop – Associate

Louise studied at the University of Malta and graduated as Doctor of Laws in November 2001. Louise started her career as a lawyer at the Malta Stock Exchange plc, then the reglulator of the capital markets in Malta and the authority for the listing of securities, in April 2001. In such capacity, she obtained valuable exposure to listing of securities on the market and gave her the opportunity to practice matters of a corporate, civil law and succession law nature. Louise joined Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd in October 2007 and her main responsibilities lie-in the practice of corporate law, tax law, civil law applicable to business and shipping matters. Louise became an Associate in 2013.

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).

 

Dr. Melanie Cassar Darmanin – Associate

Melanie Cassar Darmanin studied at the University of Malta and graduated as Doctor of Laws in 2007. During the same year Melanie successfully sat for the notarial warrant exam and was appointed as a Notary Public in the Republic of Malta. She obtained extensive experience in the notarial field before joining Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Limited in 2009 where her main responsibilities lie in the practice of corporate law, tax law, and aspects of succession regulation. Furthermore in 2013 Melanie successfully obtained a Diploma in Taxation issued by 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 Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Limited in 2015 as well as heading the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) team at Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Limited.

Melanie is a member of the Notarial Council, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners (IFSP) and the Malta Institute of Taxation.

 

David G Debono – Financial Controller

David was educated at St Edwards College in Malta. He then moved to the United Kingdom and was articled with a partner in W.B. Lacon Threlford & Co, a firm of Chartered Accountants in the City of London. David qualified as a Chartered Accountant and was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1980. He gained further experience with Coopers & Lybrand in London as a senior member of the audit team. David joined Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Ltd in 2005 as Financial Controller for the Francis J. Vassallo & Associates Group of companies.