LifeStar plc : An enchanting tte–tte with Prof Paolo Catalfamo

Never one to settle into one occupation for too long, Paolo found he was itching for yet another challenge just a few years later. But rather than head back into asset management a sector he felt offered new and exciting to him, nothing, rather he found himself drawn to the life insurance industry.

“I became fascinated by life insurance. At the time it was an industry very much dominated by big players but who had become kind of obsolete. There was a lot more to be done, so I started to look around for a small company to buy It wasn’t easy because most of the insurance companies are large. But then an opportunity arose to acquire a Mauritius-owned company based in Malta, which was heading towards bankruptcy. saw the opportunities, so we began negotiations.”

The takeover of GlobalCapital happened quickly, in just a few short months in 2015. Since then, as Chairman, Paolo has worked tirelessly to transform the company into an agile and innovative player in the insurance market, ensuring the value of the group skyrocketed from € 9m to its current estimation of €45m. The company rebranded as LifeStar in 2020 to reflect the organisation’s increasing focus on the rapidly changing life and health insurance market.

Having worked in many highly regulated jurisdictions around the world, how has Paolo found the experience of doing in business in Malta?

“At the time when we acquired GlobalCapital, I was immensely impressed by the accessibility of the institutions here. Government, the financial institutions, and the regulators were very interested in understanding the needs of businesses. They were constantly looking towards competing countries to improve local systems and make Malta even more attractive to businesses. Even Government was ready to sit down and discuss any problems or challenges to see if there were any solutions, within the boundaries of the EU directives, that could be implemented,” Paolo says, before on to explain how since Malta’s FATF graylisting in 2021 these levels of attention have somewhat fizzled out as regulators turned their attention to defending the case of Malta being a legitimate jurisdiction.

However, Paolo is hopeful that now Malta has officially been voted off the gray list in June of this year, regulators will once again invest their energy into getting Malta back on track as an attractive business hub.

“The truth is that no business is coming to Malta for the market, because it is too small. But there’s a lot of other opportunities for businesses here, precisely because of the country’s smallness. business and offer a more personable level of service to continue to attract foreign investment into the country,” he says before concluding on an optimisticly optimism note: “Now that Malta is in this post-greylisting environment, I am hopeful that the country will turn the page, bounce back, and instil the same good sentiment that attracted so many businesses here in the first place.”


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