Joseph G. P. Bonello spent his working life in financial services, starting off on 1st September 1960 as a bank clerk with the National Bank of Malta (today Bank of Valletta plc). In June 1965 he started working part time with a company that had pioneered the equity linked life insurance concept in Malta. Two years later he resigned from the Bank and on 1st August 1967, aged 23, he became self-employed in financial services.
In 1975 he set up independently, operating under the name Financial Planning Services, which became a limited liability company on 9th February 1977. It was the first Maltese company to offer a holistic financial planning approach, coordinating all aspects of personal finance and estate planning based entirely on understanding clients’ needs and wants, and the establishment of well-defined risk profiles.
Personal financial plans were then effectively and efficiently implemented, drawing on the company’s most reputable international contacts in banking, asset and portfolio management (equities, bonds and commodities), retirement planning, tax and succession duty mitigation, life assurance and personal pensions.
In 1976 Joe was elected a Fellow of the Life Insurance Association (UK).
The company acquired larger offices in Ta’ Xbiex in 1987. In September of that year, he was one of six financial services practitioners invited by the Confederation of Private Enterprise to meetings related to the setting up of a Stock Exchange in Malta. In 1989, the practitioners became the founder members of the Association of Financial Investment Consultants (AFIC), of which he was elected the first Honorary Treasurer. In 1991 the AFIC members became the Founder Members of the Malta Stock Exchange, which held its inaugural trading session on 8th January 1992.
Joe served as an official of the Stockbrokers Committee (today the College of Stockbrokers) and on the Financial Services Consultation Council of the Malta Financial Services Authority.
For a number of years he penned the column “Money Matters” in the Sunday Times and, later, the Stock Exchange reports in both The Times and The Sunday Times. He was also a regular contributor to press and TV programmes on all aspects of investment and financial planning.
Joe was an established speaker on the international circuit and addressed many international conferences, from Madrid to Milan to Mumbai, besides London, Limerick, Athens, Budapest, Warsaw, Toronto, Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco and Kuala Lumpur. His major speeches in San Francisco, Toronto and Denver have been published in the hard bound editions of the Proceedings of the Million Dollar Round Table – The Premier Association of Financial Professionals – for 1985, 1989, 1997 and 2007.
He was a 37-year Qualifying and Life member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) – The Premier Association of Financial Professionals with 39,000 members in 85 countries. He qualified for Top of the Table membership – a select group of (financial) advisors who rank among the top 0.1% of all financial advisors worldwide – for 13 years. He served MDRT as Chairman for Malta, Italy, Poland and Hungary and on various other Committees. He was also a Gold Knight of the MDRT Foundation.
Joe served as a Director on the board of the Water Services Corporation and the Housing Authority, and as Deputy Chairman of Public Broadcasting Services.
He passed away on the 5th November 2013.