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Opening address by the MFIA Chairman during the official launch of the Malta Forum for Internal Auditors

Distinguished Guests

It is with great pleasure that on behalf of the Malta Forum of Internal Auditors and my fellow colleagues on the Main Committee, I welcome you all to the official launch of the Malta Forum for Internal Auditors. Today we are seeing the consolidation of an initiative that a group of practicing internal auditors kick started early in 2007.

Thanks to the continued support and guidance of Mr Jospeh FX Zahra Managing Director MISCO (the promoter of this initiative) and Mr PJ Baldacchino (Head of Department Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy University of Malta) a working committee discussed the creation of a FORUM whereby local practising Internal Auditors could network, exchange views and discuss issues on an important and evolving discipline that of internal auditing; a professional discipline that is still relatively in its development stages in the local scenario albeit in some industries it has developed at a faster rate than in others. A discipline that is pivotal in corporate governance and hence in boosting the quality of business management that is pivotal in attracting further investment to our shores.

Since 2007 the founding working committee has organised a number of practical workshops and open conferences with the participation of distinguished local and foreign speakers

The positive feedback received from all participants during these workshops was very encouraging and this spurred the committee to look further afield and to set a local body to boost awareness and education about the role of the internal auditor within the general organisational framework.

Indeed we have set 5 clear and simple objectives which we intend achieving with the support of our members, the business community and other professional bodies. These are:

- To bring together professionals to act as internal auditors.
- To promote, support and facilitate education about the profession and discipline of internal auditing.
- To promote the professional practices of internal auditing.
- To encourage and promote best practices in internal auditing.
- Create awareness of internal auditing within the local business and non business community.

In order to facilitate this process and consolidate its administrative setup the FORUM has recently entered into a collaboration agreement with the Malta International Training Centre (MITC). Allow me at this stage to thank the members of the Main Committee and in particular Mr. Andre Farrugia (Director of Studies MITC) who have through their dedication and support helped the FORUM set the required mechanisms to be able to meet the challenges ahead. I would also like to thank all those who accepted our invitation to actively participate in the administrative, educational and financial subcommittees within the FORUM. It is these subcommittees that are the main vehicle by which the FORUM is expected to promote itself both on a local and international level.

With respect to the international dimension the FORUM has already taken a number of initiatives in seeking recognition from the Global Institute of Internal Auditors. This Institute represents more than 160,000 members across 165 countries and territories. I am pleased to report that following the submission of all relevant documentation the IIA Global Headquarters has confirmed that the Committee qualifies to lead such an initiative and is being encouraged to pursue efforts towards official recognition and Institute formation. A statute and a code of conduct for the members of the Forum has already been set - our next objective is to obtain the status of a Prospective Institute within the Global Internal Audit community.

Within this ambit and current initiatives taking place the FORUM will in the coming weeks be launching a membership campaign. We would like from now to urge practicing internal auditors, students and all those interested in the subject and profession in general to join this initiative. An information desk is available at the entrance of this hall for your convenience whereby you can leave your contact details.

As a Forum we note that there is still further work and development which needs to take place to help the evolution of the internal auditing discipline in Malta. There are still misconceptions on the role and still an extent of grey areas as to the status of the internal auditor within an organisation, his/her reporting lines, whether an Audit Committee must be supported by an internal auditor or otherwise, etc. We sincerely believe that:

1) international recognition of a local Internal Audit Institute
2) further strengthening of the role of the internal audit function within the Corporate Governance Code where internal audit is referred to but not given as a core principle of Good Corporate Governance,
3) and further education in the field are crucial in developing further the professional discipline and in boosting overall business governance and efficiency.

As part of the proceedings for today it is a pleasure to welcome once again: The Honorary Minister for Finance Mr Tonio Fenech who will be officially launching the FORUM followed by short interventions from Mr. PJ Baldacchino and our keynote speaker for today - Mr. Jean Pierre Garitte

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Malta Forum for Internal Auditors
PO Box 10, Birkirkara, MALTA