The Central Bank of Ireland (“Central Bank”) has published its response to the Law Reform Commission’s (“LRC”) Issues Paper on “Regulatory Enforcement and Corporate Offences” (which can be found here). The Central Bank’s proposals aim to ensure that the Central Bank “has a well -stocked enforcement toolbox” which, according to Ms Derville Rowland, the Central Bank’s Director General of Financial Conduct, is “vital to ensuring the Central Bank can safeguard stability and protect consumers…”
The Central Bank’s recommendations include:
- Reforms strengthening the accountability of senior personnel in regulated entities
- The extension of the period for which individuals can be suspended from senior positions in regulated firms as part of the fitness and probity regime
- Strengthening the current legislative framework to include a criminal offence of “egregious recklessness” by senior personnel in charge of financial firms that fail
- Embedding certain core common standards within a legislative framework
- Support for the creation of a dedicated division within an existing criminal agency to investigate white collar crime
The Central Bank’s detailed proposals can be found here.
If implemented, the Central Bank’s recommendations would bring the regulatory regime in Ireland more into line with that which currently exists in the UK and other regulated jurisdictions. Traditionally, the Central Bank’s focus has been on investigating the regulated entity, rather than pursuing individuals. These proposals, however, seem to be indicative of a new approach by the Central Bank, involving an increased regulatory focus on individuals in approved roles, in line with international trends. The Central Bank’s proposals serve to highlight the need for individuals in controlled positions to act appropriately and to have a clear understanding of their roles and duties.