The Central Bank of Ireland Enforcement Strategy 2011-2012, published in December 2010, sets out, amongst other things, the key objectives of the Enforcement Directorate, the practical operation of the Enforcement Directorate including the allocation of its resources and the priority areas identified for 2011-2012. The Enforcement Strategy also provides an overview of the enforcement powers that are available to the Enforcement Directorate and highlights key areas proposed for public consultation in 2011-2012.
Enforcement Priorities 2013
The Central Bank published its Enforcement Priorities for 2013 on 12 February 2013, stressing the importance of enforcement within its risk-based regulatory framework [PRISM]. Three new enforcement priority areas have been identified relating to ‘Errors and Overcharging’, ‘Payment Services Regulations’ and ‘Suitability Requirements (Consumer Protection Code – 2012)'.
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Introduction to Administrative Sanctions
In August 2004, legislation provided powers for the Central Bank of Ireland to impose sanctions for prescribed contraventions of legislation or regulatory rules.
The Central Bank of Ireland has issued:
Guidelines to the Administrative Sanctions Procedure
Outline of the Administrative Sanctions Procedure
Voluntary Reporting Guidance Note.
If the Central Bank of Ireland has cause to suspect that a regulated financial service provider and/or person concerned in the management of a regulated financial service provider has committed/is committing a 'prescribed contravention' - defined in paragraphs 1.3 and 1.4 of the Outline of the Administrative Sanctions Procedure - it may conduct an examination into the issue.
Throughout the examination stage, the Central Bank of Ireland will obtain information about the suspected prescribed contravention. Once the examination has concluded, a decision will then be taken about whether to establish an inquiry.
An inquiry may be held where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there is or has been a prescribed contravention. The inquiry shall decide if the prescribed contravention has occurred and determine the appropriate sanctions.
The legislation provides that, at any time up to the conclusion of an inquiry, the Central Bank of Ireland may enter into a binding settlement agreement with a regulated financial service provider and/or a person concerned in its management to resolve the matter.
Publicity Notices relating to concluded Settlement Agreements may be viewed here.
Press Releases issued in relation to concluded Settlement Agreements may be viewed here.
Press Releases issued in relation to other enforcement matters may be viewed here.
Where an entity/individual enters into such an agreement early in the pursuit of a sanctions case, the terms of the settlement will reflect the savings in time, resources and money that would result.
The Central Bank of Ireland will not hesitate to use sanctions where appropriate. However, its goal is to resolve issues to the benefit of the consumer, speedily and efficiently.
Administrative Sanctions Procedure decisions can be appealed to the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal.
Fitness and Probity Investigations
The Deputy Governor may, in certain circumstances, commence an investigation in relation to the fitness and probity of a person. The Central Bank of Ireland has issued the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 (Procedures Governing the Conduct of Investigations) Regulations 2012, under Section 53(2) of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010, for the purposes of setting out procedures to be followed in the exercise of the powers of the Central Bank of Ireland, the Governor and the Deputy Governor under Part 3 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010. Additionally, the Central Bank of Ireland has issued Guidance on Investigations under Part 3 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010. This Guidance is intended to provide a brief overview of the manner in which investigation, and decisions flowing from such investigations, will operate.
Please also refer to our Fitness and Probity section.