According to BOV, the partnership will offer its clients opportunities to access Barclays proprietary funds, including the Global Beta range of funds and other services and solutions.

This strategic alliance presents Barclays Wealth with an ideal platform from which to foray into the small Mediterranean island of Malta, where it does not have an onshore presence.

According to the ‘Spring Economic Forecasts’ issued by the European Commission in Brussels in May of this year, the Maltese economy is set to continue to grow through 2011 and 2012, although at a more moderate pace than the solid 3.7% GDP growth it experienced in 2010.

Despite these points, Barclays Wealth’s selection of BOV as its strategic partner is somewhat surprising given BOV’s recent involvement in a multi-manager property fund imbroglio that has considerably dented BOV’s image among investors in Malta and resulted in the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) slapping a penalty of EUR197,995 in June of this year.

BOV’s negative image may hurt Barclays Wealth’s brand image among investors in Malta.

Barclays Wealth is not the only major international player looking to establish a presence in Malta. According to some media reports, the German banking giant Deutsche Bank has also been looking of late to increase its presence in the island nation.