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RegSol Blog Posts

NatWest fined £264.8 Million for Anti-Money Laundering Failures
December 2021

On 13th of December 2021, NatWest was fined £264.8 million for failures regarding anti-money laundering rules. This is the first time the Financial Conduct Authority used its criminal prosecution powers. The case highlighted the importance of having adequate policies and procedures in place and ensuring that any red flags were acted upon.

Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said:

“NatWest is responsible for a catalogue of failures in the way it monitored and scrutinised transactions that were self-evidently suspicious. Combined with serious systems failures, like the treatment of cash deposits as cheques, these failures created an open door for money laundering.”

For more details please see: 
NatWest fined £264.8 million for anti-money laundering failures


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank of Ireland - Update on the Financial Condition of the Credit Union Sector
December 2021

On 14th December 2021, the Central Bank of Ireland published its eight edition of the Financial Conditions of Credit Unions Report. “The report provides an update on the financial performance and position of credit unions, to inform credit unions and provide input for boards as they undertake their own strategic analysis and decision-making.”

For the press release and a copy of the full report please see attached:

Central Bank provides update on the financial condition of the Credit Union sector


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank of Ireland Update – New Appointment to Director of Securities & Markets Supervision
December 2021

On the 8th of December 2021, the Central Bank announced the appointment of Patricia Dunne as the new Director of Securities and Markets Supervision. The appointment will take effect from 13 December 2021. Patricia replaces Colm Kincaid, who was appointed Director of Consumer Protection in October 2021.

For details of the announcement see link below:

Statement: Central Bank announces Director appointment in Securities and Markets Supervision


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank Dear CEO letter - Supervisory Expectations for Payment and Electronic Money (E-Money) Firms
December 2021

On 9th of December 2021, the Central Bank issued a Dear CEO letter which sets out the Central Bank’s expectations for all Payment and E-Money firms, including the actions it expects the Boards and senior management of these firms to undertake. Specifically, each of the below items were included:
  • Governance and Risk Management
  • Conduct and Culture
  • Safeguarding
  • Business Model and Financial Resilience
  • Operational Resilience
  • Financial Crime
  • Resolution and Wind-Up
For the full letter please see:

Supervisory Expectations for Payment and Electronic Money (E-Money) Firms


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank Dear CEO letter – Investment firms’ compliance with the suitability requirements under MiFID II
December 2021

On the 1st of December 2021, the Central Bank of Ireland issued a “Dear CEO” letter which outlined their findings of a review of investment firms’ compliance with the suitability requirements as per MiFID II.

The review identified areas which require more action by firms. These include:

  • Firms need to take a more client focused approach.
  • Firms must improve their assessment of clients’ knowledge and experience, financial situation, and investment objectives. Particular emphasis should be placed on the client’s capacity to withstand losses.
  • Firms must ensure suitability reports are sufficiently detailed and personalised to clients’ objectives and individual circumstances.
  • In cases where a client insists on proceeding with the transaction at their own initiative against the firm’s suitability advice - clients should be clearly informed that the firm does not consider the transaction to be suitable, including a clear explanation of the potential risks involved if the client proceeds.

For details of the article covering the letter and a link to the letter please see attached:

Central Bank review finds firms providing investment services need to improve suitability assessments


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank of Ireland Enforcement Action – Bank of Ireland fined €24,500,000 and reprimanded for breaches related to IT service continuity framework and related internal control failings.
December 2021

On the 30th of November 2021, the Central Bank reprimanded and fined the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland regarding IT service continuity deficiencies that were initially raised in 2008 but were only recognised in 2015.

The Central Bank of Ireland commenced their investigation in 2018 after the matter was referred to them by the European Central Bank (ECB). The investigation highlighted the following failures:
  1. Failure to have in place contingency and business continuity plans in relation to IT service continuity.
  2. Failure to have in place and maintain robust governance arrangements, including effective processes to identify, manage, monitor, and report the risks that the Firm was exposed to and failure to have adequate internal control mechanisms.
  3. Failure to have in place and maintain robust governance arrangements, including a clear organisational structure with well-defined, transparent, and consistent lines of responsibility.
  4. Failure to adequately develop a clear understanding of the roles, responsibilities, accountabilities, and clear interdependencies between third party IT service providers.
  5. Failure to ensure that the Firm’s management body had adequate access to information on the Firm’s risk situation.

The Central Bank’s Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering, Seána Cunningham, said: 

The Central Bank expects boards and senior management of firms to implement and operate robust risk and control frameworks which recognise and address risk issues in a timely way as part of an effective risk culture. This is a core element of operational resilience designed to protect consumers and ensure financial stability.”

For the full enforcement notice please see below:

Enforcement Action: Central Bank of Ireland and The Governor of the Bank of Ireland


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank of Ireland publishes Intermediary Times November 2021 Issue
November 2021

In this latest edition the Central Bank of Ireland covers many items:

  • New Central Bank of Ireland (Central Bank) Strategy;
  • Information on the 2021 Annual Roadshow – 24th of November 2021;
  • The Importance of a Consumer-Focused Culture;
  • Errors & Complaints – Minimum requirements for firms;
  • Differential Pricing & Business Interruption;
  • Telematics in the Private Motor Insurance Sector;
  • Retail Investor Protections in the EU Bank Recovery and Resolution Framework;
  • Crowdfunding;
  • Funding Levies 2020;
  • Anti-Money Laundering;
  • Ransomware Attacks; and
  • An update on the CBI portal for intermediaries.

It is the 2nd edition of the Intermediary Times published this year and gave an indication that error reporting will feature in the CBI agenda next year: “Owing to the limited number of errors being reported by the Retail Intermediaries sector to the Bank in recent years, we are planning to undertake supervisory work in this area in 2022, to ensure firms are handling and reporting on errors in line with the Code requirements.”

It is an essential read for all intermediaries and has a reminders section on page 19 of upcoming matters.

'Intermediary Times' Newsletters


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
EU Whistleblowing Directive – Irish Transposition
November 2021

The new EU Whistleblowing Directive (‘the Directive) is due to be transposed into national law by 17th December 2021.

The purpose of the Directive is to establish uniform minimum protection is in place to ensure that individuals who report breaches of EU law are afforded protection against retaliation from employers or colleagues across all Member States.

The Irish Government has published a general scheme of ‘The Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Bill 2021’ to implement the EU provisions. The Bill includes a number of enhancements to the existing whistleblowing framework in Ireland which includes:

  • widening the scope to individuals to include, volunteers, interns, job applicants, suppliers, shareholders, and non-executive directors (and not just employees);
  • expanding the definition of “relevant wrongdoings” to include breaches of law in areas such as public procurement, financial services, product safety, transport safety, food safety, animal welfare, public health, consumer protection, privacy, and protection of personal data;
  • extending the definition of “penalisation” to include acts such as negative annual performance appraisal and medical referrals (A recent Government press release indicated that the new legislation would put the burden of proof on the employer “it will be assumed that the alleged act of penalisation occurred because the worker made a protected disclosure unless the employer can prove otherwise.”
  • requiring that certain private sector employers, as follows, must have internal whistle blowing procedures and channels according to the following remit (all public sector organisations are already required under the 2014 Protected disclosure Act to have these measures in place)
              o Private entities with more than 250 employees -from 17 December 2021
              o Private entities with between 50-249 employees -from 17 December 2023
              o Organisations with less than 50 employees may be required to comply following a risk
                 assessment of the organisation’s activities and the resulting level of risk

The general scheme of the Bill only provides a broad outline of the proposed legislation and, as always, the final version may differ from the Bill, thus a prudent approach is best adopted at this stage. 

The full text of the General Scheme is available here:  EU Whistleblowing Directive


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant


Central Bank of Ireland Launches its New Strategy
November 2021

A new strategy document was published by the Central Bank this month. The document was finalised in September of 2021 and is effective from January 2022. It is designed to ensure that the Central Bank of Ireland, can “meet the challenges of a changing world and deliver on our mission and vision.”

The new strategy focuses on four themes – Future-focused, Open & Engaged, Transforming and Safeguarding. 
  1. Future-Focused – there is emphasis on technological innovation, climate transition, geopolitical change, and developments arising in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Open & Engaged – listening to stakeholders and build dialogue.
  3. Transforming – emphasis on agility in a new working model. Data and technology have a role here too.
  4. Safeguarding – this theme looks at managing resources, risks, and priorities.

For a copy of the full strategy, please see the link below:
Central Bank: Strategic Plan


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank of Ireland publishes Intermediary Times November 2021 Issue
November 2021

In this latest edition the Central Bank of Ireland covers many items:

  • New Central Bank of Ireland (Central Bank) Strategy;
  • Information on the 2021 Annual Roadshow – 24th of November 2021;
  • The Importance of a Consumer-Focused Culture;
  • Errors & Complaints – Minimum requirements for firms;
  • Differential Pricing & Business Interruption;
  • Telematics in the Private Motor Insurance Sector;
  • Retail Investor Protections in the EU Bank Recovery and Resolution Framework;
  • Crowdfunding;
  • Funding Levies 2020;
  • Anti-Money Laundering;
  • Ransomware Attacks; and
  • An update on the CBI portal for intermediaries.

It is the 2nd edition of the Intermediary Times published this year and gave an indication that error reporting will feature in the CBI agenda next year: “Owing to the limited number of errors being reported by the Retail Intermediaries sector to the Bank in recent years, we are planning to undertake supervisory work in this area in 2022, to ensure firms are handling and reporting on errors in line with the Code requirements.”

It is an essential read for all intermediaries and has a reminders section on page 19 of upcoming matters.

Central Bank of Ireland: Intermediary Times November Issue


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank of Ireland: Anti-Money Laundering Bulletin - Supervisory engagements with Funds and Fund Management Companies
November 2021

On the 11th November 2021, the Central Bank of Ireland published its latest AML Bulletin. This bulletin focuses on the funds sector and highlights areas of weakness that have become known in supervisory engagements since 2019. Deficiencies were identified in Governance, Business Risk Assessments, Outsourcing and Customer Due Diligence. The Head of the Anti-Money Laundering division, Tommy Hannafin noted “While this bulletin focuses on findings from the Central Bank’s supervisory engagement with the Funds sector the Central Bank expects all firms, irrespective of their sector, to critically assess their Anti-Money Laundering / Countering the Financing of Terrorism & Financial Sanctions (AML/CFT/FS) frameworks against the Central Bank’s expectations.”

Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing have been in great focus already this year with the transposition of the 5th EU AMLD, additional regulations on Beneficial Ownership, and the updated Central Bank Guidelines. 

This latest bulletin once again highlights the focus the CBI places on the subject. For a copy of the bulletin please see attached:

Anti-Money Laundering Bulletin


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant


Central Bank Dear CEO letter - Supervisory expectations of regulated firms regarding climate change
November 2021

On the 3rd of November 2021, the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Gabriel Makhlouf, wrote to regulated financial services providers to highlight the statutory obligations and related supervisory expectations relating to climate and sustainability issues.

The letter states “The Central Bank’s mission is to serve the public interest by maintaining monetary and financial stability while ensuring that the financial system operates in the best interests of consumers and the wider economy. We see addressing climate change as a strategic priority and that the financial system has to be resilient to the risks it poses as well as having a significant role to serve the needs of consumers and the wider economy in a transition to a carbon neutral future.”

With the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) just over and the Network for Greening the Financial System, (NGFS) publishing the “NGFS Glasgow Declaration” this letter is a timely reminder of the importance of climate change and the responsibilities that regulated firms have. The CBI has also committed to redoubling its efforts regarding climate change. 

For details of the press release, Dear CEO letter and the Glasgow Declaration please see attached link:

Central Bank sets out supervisory expectations of regulated firms regarding climate change, and reaffirms own commitment to take action
Central Bank of Ireland - Administrative Sanctions Procedure Case referred to Inquiry in Respect of a Person Formerly Concerned in the Management of Permanent tsb plc.
November 2021

On the 10th November 2021, the Central Bank of Ireland, announced that it had conducted an investigation under the Administrative Sanctions Procedure and determined that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a person formerly concerned in the management of Permanent TSB plc (PTSB) was involved in the commission of a suspected prescribed contravention of Chapter 1, General Principle 1 of the Consumer Protection Code 2006 by PTSB.

For the press release issued by the CBI and details of the Inquiry and Administrative Sanctions Procedures please see attached link:




By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank of Ireland Enforcement Action: Rosaleen Grier
November 2021

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) applied to the High Court for an enforcement order against Rosaleen Grier, trading as Grier & Associates / RG Consultants / GR Sales (“Rosaleen Grier”). 

The order restrains Rosaleen Grier from providing debt management services and carrying out the credit intermediation activities of a mortgage credit intermediary, unless and until authorised to do so by the Central Bank. Rosaleen Grier, consented to the enforcement order. 

The order was made by the High Court on 1 November 2021. 

For the press release issued by the CBI see attached link: Central Bank High Court Order



By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank of Ireland – Recent speech looking at the Evolution of Enforcement
October 2021

Director General Derville Rowland gave the keynote speech at the A&L Goodbody Corporate Crime and Regulate Summit on 13th of October 2021.

In the speech Ms Rowland reflected on the past decade which saw the dedicated Enforcement Division established and also looked to the future – most notable referring to the Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Bill 2021.

The key focus of financial regulation is a stable and trustworthy financial system which looks after the needs of customers and the wider economy. The Central Bank has many functions and a key part of the supervision process is use of the enforcement powers where necessary.

Ms Rowland noted “In terms of overall outcomes, as at the end of September 2021, we have concluded 144 enforcement actions, imposing fines amounting to over €166.5 million. We have disqualified 26 individuals from senior roles in firms. These figures speak beyond the credible threat of enforcement to the effective use of enforcement powers to address serious wrongdoing.”

In relation to the General Scheme of the Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Bill 2021, Ms Rowland noted “The various separate aspects of the Framework complement each other to achieve the ultimate goals of better outcomes for consumers and a more sustainable financial system by driving higher standards of behaviour for individuals in financial services firms.” In due course once the legislative process has taken place a consultation process will follow.

It is clear the Central Bank will continue its focus on a credible threat of enforcement and looking to enhance the role of culture and accountability within firms. 

For the full speech please see here:
The Central Bank's Evolution of Enforcement - Derville Rowland
Central Bank of Ireland issues Insurance Newsletter
October 2021

On the 16th of September 2021 the latest version of the Insurance Newsletter was issued. Headings in the newsletter were Recovery Planning, Insurance Insights and Sustainable Insurance. 

Updates that were covered include the amendments to the Motor Insurance Directive and the requirements under the Whistleblowing Directive which is due to be transposed by 17th of December 2021. 

To read the newsletter in full please see this link below:
Central Bank of Ireland Insurance Newsletter
Central Bank of Ireland Enforcement Action – Sarasin Funds Management (Ireland) Limited fined €385,000 and reprimanded by the Central Bank of Ireland for breaches of investment restrictions and inadequate supervision
October 2021

On 27 September 2021, the Central Bank of Ireland (the Central Bank) reprimanded and fined Sarasin Funds Management (Ireland) Limited (the Firm or SFMIL) €385,000 in respect of four admitted breaches of investment funds regulations which occurred between 25 May 2017 and 2 March 2018 (the Relevant Period).

As part of their investigation the Central Bank identified a number of prescribed contraventions:
  1. Breach of Investment Restrictions in the UCITS Regulations
  2. Breach of Investment Restrictions in the Merging Fund’s Prospectus
  3. Ineffective Reporting and Communication Procedures with the Firm’s Delegates
  4. Ineffective Supervision of the Firm’s Delegates
Seána Cunningham, the Central Bank’s Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering, commented as follows:

“The Central Bank expects Boards and designated directors to proactively challenge the activities and scrutinise the actions taken by their delegates, to be able to adequately oversee and monitor their delegates at all times, and to tailor their governance, oversight and monitoring programme appropriately when risks arise. SFMIL failed in this regard.” 

For the full notice click the link below:
Enforcement Action Central Bank of Ireland and Sarasin Funds Management (Ireland) Limited
Central Bank of Ireland issues Notice of Intention to make changes to PCF list
September 2021

In a notice issued on 22nd September the Central Bank of Ireland is proposing to make changes to the PCF list. This is stated to reflect the experiences of the Central Bank in their supervisory role and to reflect the changing environment in the financial services industry.

In summary the proposed amendments are as follows:

1. Expand PCF-16 to include branch managers in non-EEA countries;

2. Introduce stand-alone PCFs in respect of:
  a. Independent Non-Executive Directors;
  b. The Head of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing; and

3. Remove PCF-31 Head of Investment.

For the full notice see the attached:
Amendments to pre approval controlled functions
















Data Protection Issue - Credit Unions seek assurances from Central Bank of Ireland
September 2021

The Irish League of Credit Unions is seeking assurances from the Central Bank of Ireland, (CBI), that it has adequate protections in place for the personal data of those that must register with it. The request comes after the CBI mistakenly gave out information about credit union bosses.

The Beneficial Ownership Register was established under the EU 4th AML directive. It “requires all EU Member States to put into national law provisions requiring corporate and legal entities to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial owner(s) in their own internal beneficial ownership register.” 

At present the chairpersons and chief executives of credit unions are listed in the Beneficial Ownership Register as being the beneficial owners of a credit union.

The data breach resulted in personal details (including name, date of birth, and the first four lines of the home address) of a number of credit union chairpersons and CEOs, being released in error to a requestor who was only entitled to restricted access to the material held on the register.

The breach was reported to the Data Protection Commission.

See the links for the Irish Independent article and also for information on the Beneficial Ownership Register.

Credit Unions demand assurances from Central Bank after data leak blunder

Register of Beneficial Ownership
European Central Bank fine AIB and EBS €615,000 for Miscalculating Capital Needs
September 2021

AIB and its subsidiary EBS were fined a total of €615,000 for miscalculating their capital needs. Lower Risk Weighted Assets (RWAs) were reported for intragroup equity exposures for 9 and 7 quarters during the period 2014 to 2016 based on miscalculations.
The RWAs measure the level of risk that banks carry on their balance sheets and allow lenders to calculate how much capital they need.

AIB Group issued a statement in which they noted “The breach had no impact on customers and no impact on the Group's consolidated capital ratios. We have since strengthened our controls to prevent any recurrence.”


RTE News: AIB and EBS fined €615,000 by ECB for regulatory breach
New Director of Consumer Protection Appointed
September 2021

Colm Kincaid has been appointed as the new Director of Consumer Protection within the Central Bank of Ireland. The appointment will take effect from 1st October 2021.

Colm has been with the Central Bank of Ireland, (CBI), since 2004 and previously practised as a solicitor in London and Dublin.

See the link below for the press release from the CBI.
Statement: Appointment of New Director of Consumer Protection
AML & CTF Recent Case – Arrest of Islamic Terrorist Suspect
September 2021

On the 15th of September 2021, the National Criminal Bureau of Investigation (NCBI) apprehended a known Islamic terrorist suspect who had been working in Ireland as a courier for 22 years.

The individual who is an Algerian national in his early 50s, was previously based in Marseille and had escaped the French and European authorities for years.

He had been convicted in his absence in France of offences relating to the facilitation of Islamic terrorism. He fled to Ireland before he could be imprisoned and worked under an alias, with his past unknown to his employers.

He is currently being brought through the extradition process to return him to France.

For more information, please read here: 
Alleged terrorism supporter who fled to Ireland 20 years ago too sick to attend court
Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) – Complaints Analysis
September 2021

Earlier this year, the FSPO published its overview of complaints that they received and mediated on in 2020. This totalled to 5,395 of which 58% of these were received online.

An increase in the number of complaints closed was up 35% from 2019. Of 6,193 complaints closed in 2020 (includes complaints received prior to 2020), the FSPO have published the following:

  • 2,960 complaints were resolved through the Dispute Resolution Process
  • 1,401 complaints were closed following registration and referral to providers
  • 494 legally binding decisions were issued. Of these, only 171 were fully upheld
  • 428 complaints were withdrawn during the process
  • 327 cases were closed following determination under the Early Jurisdictional Assessment (EJA) process.

The complaints relate to the following industries:
  • Investment – 6%
  • Banking – 56% (more than 50% of banking complaints related to mortgages)
  • Insurance – 32% (most of which related to motor insurance)
  • Pension Schemes – 4%
  • 2% of complaints could not be categorised due to not enough data being available.

The top 6 complaints relating to Insurance in 2020 related to the following conducts:
  • Claims handling – 9%
  • Disputed transactions – 5%
  • Customer service – 4%
  • Delays in processing requests – 4%
  • Communication – 4%
  • Rejection of claim – 3%.

The FSPO will continue to have a more direct interaction with consumers and providers to ensure faster resolution of issues and a smoother service provided.

The FSPO is currently developing its strategic plan for 2021-2023.

The full overview of complaints for 2020 is available on the FSPO website through the link below:
Overview of Complaints
Central Bank of Ireland - Review of Differential Pricing in the Private Car and Home Insurance Markets
August 2021

The Central Bank has published its final report into differential pricing in the home and motor insurance markets in Ireland. The report has identified that some pricing practices can lead to unfair outcomes for car and home insurance customers.

There are 3 proposals in the report:

  • A ban on “price walking” - Price walking is where consumers are charged higher premiums, relative to the expected cost, the longer they remain with an insurance provider. This would remove the imposition of ‘loyalty penalties’ on these consumers.
  • A requirement on providers of motor and home insurance to personal consumers to review their pricing policies and processes annually, to make sure providers are following the new provisions and have fair treatment of customers as a top priority.
  • The introduction of a new consumer consent and disclosure requirement. This would ensure the automatic renewal process is more transparent for all personal non-life insurance products.

The full report is available here: 
Review of Differential Pricing in the Car and Home Insurance Markets
Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Bill 2021
August 2021

On the 27th of July, the Department of Finance published the Individual Accountability Framework proposal for 2021.

The framework’s aim is to help firms drive positive behaviour by strengthening organisational culture and to mitigate issues arising from conduct risk.

Two key areas of governance are highlighted in order to achieve effective regulatory framework:

  • Well defined, clear, and transparent responsibilities for all staff
  • Individuals to know what is expected of them in their roles and be held accountable for their actions and behaviour.
Four key components are highlighted further:
  • Responsibilities, decision-making and accountability to be clearly defined for all staff
  • Enforceable Conduct Standards to ensure firms and staff to always act with integrity, due skill, care, and diligence for their customers
  • Enhanced Fitness & Probity (F&P) to ensure required staff are fit and proper to carry out their roles
  • Increased sanctions on individuals for direct accountability as opposed to only if they have participated in a firm’s wrongdoing.
Under the framework’s new proposal is also an enhanced focus on proportionality and fair procedures by the CBI.

Further details available here:

Statement - Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Bill 2021


CP 144 Guidance on the Use of Service Companies for Staffing Purposes in the Insurance Sector
August 2021

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has noticed a tendency for insurance firms to enter into arrangements for the use of separate legal entities for the provision of extensive staffing to the firm. These entities are often referred to as service companies or service providers and may be part of the same group as the firm.

Given the emphasis placed on consumer protection by the CBI the purpose of this guidance is to clearly set out the CBI’s expectations for firms engaging in this practice. “The Central Bank is focused on these staffing arrangements due to their potential, if not effectively managed, to threaten the operational resilience of undertakings regulated by the Central Bank.”

Key matters listed in the paper are:

  • Role of the undertaking,
  • Role of the board,
  • Basis of the staffing arrangement
  • Risk Management – compliance risk, due diligence, conflicts of interest, control risk /risk of undue influence, operational resilience, business continuity planning and resolvability.
  • Fitness and Probity
Anyone wishing to make a submission on the proposed guidance is asked to use the dedicated template and “Consultation on Guidance on Use of Service Companies for Staffing Purposes in the Insurance Sector” as the email subject line. Responses are to be sent to insurancepolicy@centralbank.ie by 6th November 2021.

The submission template and consultation paper are available here: 
CP 144 Consultation Paper

Mandatory gender pay gap reporting becomes law
August 2021

On the 11th of August, the new Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 was passed into law.

Fundamentally, the legislation requires that any gender gaps must be published by eligible employers.

The new legislation sets out the following key elements:

  • That the gender pay gap is the difference between what men and women are paid overall and not the concept of simply equal pay for equal work.
  • The legislation will initially apply to employers with 250+ employees, to employers with 150+ employees from August 2023 and to employers with 50+ employees in August 2024.
  • A breakdown of the differences in remuneration including bonuses and BIK paid to both male and female employees as a percentage will be required to be published.
  • Obligations on firms can be enforced by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission IIHREC) for employees who believe their employers have not acted in accordance with the legislation.
  • Reporting Obligations are expected to commence by 2022 on foot of regulations anticipated by the end of this year.
Relevant Firms are encouraged to be compliant and prepare for the new regulations immediately, by promoting gender diversity, introducing programmes to help women achieve senior roles and having flexibility for all staff regarding parental leave.

The Act is available here: Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021


By Sean Wallace - Regulatory Consultant
ESMA and EBA Publish Final Guidance on Fit & Proper Requirements
July 2021

In addition to the emphasis the Central Bank has placed on Fitness & Probity (F&P) recently, the matter is also getting attention at a European level. On July 2nd, 2021, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) published their revised final joint Guidelines on the assessment of the suitability of members of the management body and key function holders.

These Guidelines take effect from 31st December 2021 and expand on the amendments introduced in the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD V) and the Investment Firms Directive (IFD).

The key areas of focus relate to:

  • Money Laundering and financing terrorism risks – ensuring that appropriate persons in senior management are fit and proper to carry out their roles, helping to ensure the stability and integrity of the financial system
  • Gender Diversity – that a more gender balanced approach is taken for equal opportunity positions within the management body.
  • Assessment of suitability - for newly acquired members of the management body.

In addition, the new Guidelines outline the new legislative framework for investment firms introduced in 2019.

For further details please refer to the following link:

ESMA & EBA Publish final guidance on Fit & Proper Requirements
Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) Dear CEO Letters on Market Abuse
July 2021

In line with the Market Abuse Regulations (MAR), the Central Bank has issued Dear CEO letters from March 2019 to July 2021. These letters were issued to dozens of companies including Investment firms or persons who engage in the transmission or execution of orders, issuers or persons who act on behalf of issuers, highlighting initial expectations and subsequently breaches of the MAR.

Following initial publication of its findings in 2020, based on supervisory activity from 2019 the CBI highlighted the following failings leading to breaches of the Regulations:

  • Ineffective trade surveillance systems
  • Lack of monitoring and supervision on all outsourced activity
  • No clear lines of responsibility for staff
  • Inadequate reporting of Suspicious Transaction and Order Reports (STOR)
  • Lack of governance around communication to staff on unlawful disclosing of inside information and insider dealing

In its most recent publication and Dear CEO Letter on July 12th, 2021, the CBI expects:
  • Trade surveillance and STOR reporting frameworks must be enhanced to ensure that controls and processes in place are more robust.
  • Enhanced frameworks to ensure that public disclosures of information are made timely
  • Insiders to be reminded of their MAR obligations and the consequences of market abuse
  • Improvements on the quality of insider lists and governance on how they are operated
  • Staff awareness and training to be increased and enhanced.

It is anticipated that work will continue for many firms and individuals well into 2022, where Regulators will enhance their scrutiny on firms to complete these actions as soon as possible.

Director General Financial Conduct, CBI - Derville Rowland, said:

“Misconduct on securities markets undermines transparency and trust among market participants and is detrimental to investor protection. MAR is a critical component in deterring misconduct and identifying market abuse where it occurs. This represents our most comprehensive review of MAR compliance to date, encompassing regulated trading firms, issuers and issuers’ advisors.’’

For further details, please refer to the following link:
Central Bank publishes findings of review into market abuse risks

Seán Wallace

Regulatory Compliance Consultant
Central Bank review of the Consumer Protection Code (CPC), Consumer Protection Outlook Report and the extension of the CPC remit
July 2021

Consumer protection is a key focus of the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI). The Consumer Protection Code (CPC) and the detailed requirements in it will be familiar to our readers. The CPC is currently under review by the Central Bank. Earlier this year, Derville Rowland, Director of Financial Conduct at the CBI addressed Banking Payments Federation of Ireland. In that speech Ms Rowland stated “The Consumer Protection Code is the cornerstone of our consumer protection framework. We are working to finalise our plans for a broad consultation on a substantial update of the Consumer Protection Code.” The public consultation on the proposals should follow later this year.

The Consumer Protection Outlook Report listed the six key areas of focus for the CBI in 2021:
  • Deliver intrusive risk-based supervision
  • Enhance the Consumer Protection framework
  • Drive firms to embed effective consumer-based cultures
  • Influence, shape and deliver key policies for regulation
  • Ensure fair treatment of borrowers in financial distress
  • Enhance our gate keeping process
In the Report, Gráinne McEvoy, Director of Consumer Protection notes “We expect firms to act on this information detailed in the Outlook Report. Consumer protection begins with the financial services firms.”

Another key development is the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Retail Credit and Credit Servicing Firms) Bill 2021. This Bill means that providers of credit, hire-purchase agreements and consumer-hire agreements will have to be authorised by the Central Bank. Firms offering these services will then be subject to the Consumer Protection Code thus giving consumers greater protection. This has been welcomed by both Minister Paschal Donohue and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Press Release Consumer Protection July 2021

Consumer Protection Outlook Report 2021

CICA – Reminder Provisions commencing September 2021
July 2021

The Consumer Insurance Act 2019 was signed into law in December 2019 and while some provisions came into force in 2020, some were deferred until September 2021. As we are fast approaching that date here is a reminder of the key provisions that are due to come in to force later this year.

Sections 8,9, 12 and 14 (1) to (5) will come into effect from 01.09.2021.

Section 8 focuses on the duty of disclosure. Insurers must ask specific questions to their customer or potential customer, and these must be answered “honestly and with reasonable care”.

Section 9 covers the remedies available in the case of misrepresentation based on whether this was innocent, negligent or fraudulent.

Section 12 places extra duties on insurers at renewal for example for non-life contracts, insurers must provide a schedule of all premiums and claims paid for the preceding 5 years.

Section 14 (1) to (5) covers disclosure duties at renewal.

Links to articles on the new provisions:

Brokers Ireland CICA 2021

AL Goodbody Provisions commencing Sept 2021

Previous Article 2020

Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SDFR)
July 2021

Recently, the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) published its first edition of the Intermediary Times for 2021. Several important topics were outlined for financial institutions to develop their business and prioritise the best interests of their customers.

One such topic is the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SDFR).

The SDFR sets out disclosure requirements for several financial products. In addition, this regulation applies to all financial participants including, fund managers, pension providers, MiFID investment firms and insurance & investment intermediaries.

The following key requirements were highlighted:

  • How financial product manufacturers and financial advisors should inform end-investors about sustainability risks in addition to the impact of investments on the environment and society as a whole
  • How financial products that are classed as sustainable meet these ambitions

Having come into effect on 10th March 2021, the CBI expects that all firms where applicable to have complied with the SFDR obligations as of this date.

For smaller firms with less than three employees, these requirements will not come into effect until 10th March 2022, in line with EU Regulations.

In line with the SFDR application, Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) are expected to be drafted and in place by January 2022.

For further details please refer to our previous article on SFDR HERE


By Sean Wallace - Regulatory Consultant


Central Bank publishes Annual Report & Annual Performance Statement for 2020
June 2021

On June 2nd, 2021, the Central Bank has published its Annual Report and Annual Performance Statement for 2020. A financial profit of €829.6m has been reported for the year in addition to a surplus income of €665.7m which was paid to the Exchequer.

One of the key activities prioritised the safeguarding of monetary and financial stability while also continuing to serve the best needs of consumers and the wider economy.

The CBI has adapted and aided the support and recovery of consumers and investors financially impacted by Covid-19 and how best to manage these risks, in addition to Brexit and the UK’s departure from the EU.

On p. 29 of the report, strengthening consumer protection was detailed further. The continued protection of the interests of consumers particularly regarding solutions around stressed debt and insurance policy rebates and claims, in addition to enhanced regulation of firms and markets were the main areas of focus to ensure that there continues to be confidence and trust in the financial system.

Following a review, the Central Bank also plans to publish a consultation paper to update the Consumer Protection Code (CPC) and strengthen regulations due to emerging trends and risks.

In the area of fund management company compliance an additional Consultation Paper (CP) 86 was published following review, and the continued interests and protection of investors was the focus, with the aim to improve governance in this area.

As always, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) was a key area of focus with the CBI enhancing inspections, engagements, and outreach. Transaction Monitoring continues to be a critical area in this space and was documented in the CBI’s AML Bulletin.

One other key activity was on the emerging financial risks due to Climate Change. In addition to this and the Covid-19 pandemic, the CBI have developed a new strategic plan to tackle and mitigate these risks. It has reminded financial institutions of the need to be aware of ever emerging risks and threats occurring and to other potential risks not highlighted relative to an institution.

For further details on the report as well as an address by the CBI Governor Gabriel Makhlouf please refer to the following links:

Annual Report and Annual Performance Statement

and

Central Bank publishes Annual Report and Annual Performance Statement for 2020

Finally, a Protected Disclosures Annual Report for 2020 has also been published detailing the number of protected disclosures reported by financial institutions to public bodies in the preceding year and actions taken as a result.

This continues to help individuals to report on instances of wrongdoing and be protected against speaking up, while ensuring the increased inspection and supervision of these firms. More details can be found here: 
Protected Disclosures including Whistleblowing and Infringement Reports
AML & CFT – Central Bank of Ireland published updated guidelines
June 2021

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) & Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) - the area is ever evolving and currently very topical.

On 23rd of June the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) published their updated guidelines for the financial sector. This 84-page document was produced to assist firms in understanding their AML/CFT obligations. It also sets out the CBI expectations for the factors that firms should take into account as they identify, assess, and manage risks. The guidelines were updated to reflect the transposition of the 5th EU AML Directive into Irish law. We have looked at the key changes previously, see link:
5AMLD Key Changes

Updated Guidelines June 2021

An online search provided results which indicate the number of investigations for money laundering offences are increasing – we found information on at least one case per month over the past 3 months:

02.06.2021 A man was arrested over directing a criminal gang involved in money laundering

17.05.2021 a former Kinahan cartel member received a suspended sentence over laundering crime cash

18.04.2021 A man was arrested by Gardai as part of an investigation into fraud and money laundering

https://www.thejournal.ie/money-laundering/news/

With the new guidelines which factor in the changes brought about by the EU AML Directive and the increased potential for criminal activity created by the Covid 19 pandemic, it is vital that all designated persons are aware of their obligations and have updated their policies and procedures.


By Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Central Bank of Ireland issues Fitness and Probity Interview Guide
June 2021

The Fitness and Probity regime was introduced by the Central Bank Reform Act 2010. The purpose of the regime is to ensure that people working in certain key roles and customer facing positions within regulated financial service providers are competent, capable, honest, ethical, and financially sound.

There are 3 keys aspects of the fitness and probity regime:

Ongoing obligations – Regulated firms have on going obligations regarding the regime. Firms should assess whether key personnel satisfy the standards as required on an ongoing basis. Firms should be able to demonstrate how they verified this to the Central Bank if requested to do so. There is also the annual PCF Confirmation return to be completed.

Gatekeeping role – with the monitoring of CF (Controlled functions) and PCF (Pre-approval controlled functions) the Central Bank can ensure that only those candidates that satisfy the required of the fitness and probity regime are in key positions within regulated financial service providers.

Investigations – The Central Bank has the power to conduct an investigation into the fitness and probity of an individual who performs a CF/PCF or who is proposed to be appointed to a CF.

In addition to the detailed information available on the Central Bank’s website these interview guidelines will provide added information to candidates about the types of interviews the Central Bank can conduct and guidance on how to prepare for them.

Central Bank website with details on fitness and probity can be found here: Fitness and Probity

For the guidelines on interviews issued in June see the link here: Fitness & Probity Interview Guide

The Central Bank’s Director General, Financial Conduct, Derville Rowland spoke at a webinar at the Institute of Directors on the 10th of June 2021, where she outlined the relationship of the fitness and probity regime to good culture. Ms Rowland noted ““The F&P regime seeks to ensure that regulated firms and individuals who work in those firms are committed to high standards of competence, integrity and honesty, and are held to account when they fall below these standards. The regime has been instrumental in our work in seeking to ensure that the right people occupy key roles in the firms we regulate”.

Press Release 10th June 2021

By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant

Central Bank of Ireland Enforcement Action – Gary McCollum, formerly of INBS, fined €200,000 and disqualified for a period of 15 years by the Central Bank for breaches of financial services law
June 2021

On the 10th of June 2021, the Central Bank reprimanded and fined Mr. McCollum €200,000.00 and disqualified him from being a person concerned in the management of a Central Bank regulated financial service provider for a period of 15 years.

Significant failings regarding commercial lending were identified, these included:

  • A failure to ensure that commercial loan applications were processed in accordance with internal policy;
  • A failure to ensure that commercial loans and variations were approved in accordance with internal policy and that commercial mortgage offers complied with policy;
  • A failure to ensure that security (including personal guarantees) for commercial loans was obtained, that valuation reports were received before all, or part of the loan was advanced and that loan-to-value limits were adhered to in accordance with INBS’s internal policies or otherwise approved as exceptions; and
  • A failure to ensure that commercial lending was effectively monitored in accordance with INBS’s internal policies.

The Central Bank noted the seriousness and impact of the contraventions in addition to the failure by Mr. McCollum to notify them that the breaches had occurred and his failure to take remedial action as aggravation factors in the sanctions placed on Mr. McCollum.

The Central Bank’s Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering, Seána Cunningham, stated:

The Central Bank has highlighted on many previous occasions the potential risks that may arise for a firm, its customers and the wider financial market, when robust systems of internal control and procedures are not put in place and followed. This case serves to underscore a further fundamental point – robust systems of internal control are only as effective as the individuals implementing them. It falls to senior role holders to lead by example, so that a culture of compliance is the norm.


By: Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant
Enforcement Action: Central Bank issues Prohibition Notice to Mr. James Cumiskey under the Fitness and Probity Regime
May 2021

Effective from July 2020, Mr. Cumiskey is prohibited from carrying out a Controlled Function (CF) or Pre-approval Controlled Function (PCF) in any regulated financial services firm for an indefinite period.

The Central Bank’s investigation discovered that between January 2018 and August 2018, Mr. Cumiskey induced people to give him deposits they had saved for a mortgage on the basis that Mr. Cumiskey required the deposit to process their mortgage applications. 

 Neither Mr Cumiskey nor his firm (European Mortgage Call Centre Limited) were authorised as a mortgage intermediary, yet mortgage services were advertised on the company website. It also emerged as during the investigation that Mr. Cumiskey had outstanding debts and was not managing his own financial affairs in a sound and prudent manner as required by the Fitness and Probity Standards.

This action, in addition to the letters issued by the CBI to all regulated firms in April 2019 and November 2020 highlights the importance of the Fitness and Probity regime and the obligations that it places on firms and their management and staff.

Can you demonstrate to the Central Bank of Ireland how you are complying with these requirements?

See attached for details: CBI Press Release May 2021



By Eilish Larkin
Regulatory Consultant
Enforcement Action: Ulster Bank Ireland DAC
May 2021

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) fined Ulster Bank Ireland DAC €37,774,520 for regulatory breaches that affected tracker mortgage customers.

There were 49 separate regulatory breaches of the European Communities (Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts) Regulations 1995, Code of Practice for Credit Institutions 2001, the Consumer Protection Code 2006, and the Consumer Protection Code 2012.

The CBI highlighted specific failings as below:
  1. Failing to disclose to impacted tracker customers all the consequences of fixing their interest rates,
  2. Devising and implementing a deliberate strategy not to provide certain customers with their correct tracker mortgage entitlement unless they complained,
  3. Failing to adequately implement the TME’s Stop the Harm principles to protect all potentially impacted tracker customers from further detriment,
  4. Failing to ensure that its operational systems and controls were sufficient to ensure that its customers were provided with their correct tracker mortgage entitlements.
Seána Cunningham, Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering at the CBI stated “At the heart of this enforcement action is the avoidable harm caused by UBID to its tracker customers. Over an extensive period, UBID denied customers their tracker mortgage entitlements in relation to 5,940 mortgage accounts, resulting in significant and widespread overcharging. 

At the most serious end of the detriment caused to UBID’s customers, 43 properties were lost, 29 of which were family homes, as a direct consequence of UBID’s actions.”

The Settlement Agreement notice is lengthy, and the CBI highlighted a number of aggravating factors in the case – very notable is Ulster Bank Ireland DAC has been subject to 4 previous Enforcement Actions.

Central Bank of Ireland's Enforcement Action on Ulster Bank DAC




By Eilish Larkin
Regulatory Consultant



April 2021 - Commencement of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Amendment Act 2021
May 2021

The long-awaited Commencement Order (S.I. No. 188 of 2021) was signed, and the provision of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Amendment Act 2021 are now in force. This transposed the requirement of the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive into Irish law.

We have covered the key provisions in previous Regsol articles – please see the link below.

5 AMLD Legislation Progressing through the Seanad




By Eilish Larkin
Regulatory Consultant
Brexit and the Impact on Brokers
April 2021

Insurance intermediaries in the EU including Ireland must only use insurance and re insurance services of other EU registered firms.

Under the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019, UK insurers and intermediaries that do not wish to be established in Ireland or other EU member state, will be provided with a run-off regime. This will allow them to continue to fulfil contractual obligations to their Irish customers for a three-year timeframe after the transition period ends. After this, they will not be able to write new insurance contracts or renew existing ones.

For Irish intermediaries that have UK clients, the intermediaries need to have registered with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) UK Temporary Permissions regime (TPR) while they proceed with a full application to the FCA. If Irish intermediaries do not wish to get authorised by the FCA they are subject to the Financial Service Contracts Regime (FSCR). This regime allows that contracts written pre 31.12.2020 can continue to be serviced but no new business can be written.

It is vital that all intermediaries ensure that they deal with insurance undertakings and firms that have the correct authorisations on place to cover risks for their policyholders wherever they are based.

Brokers Ireland: Dealing with UK Clients Post Brexit

Brokers Ireland: Impact of Brexit on Irish Brokers with Clients Based in the UK  



By Eilish Larkin - Regulatory Consultant