The Act contains detailed technical amendments to existing legislation. However, the following matters merit particular highlighting:
3.1 Removal of responsibility for promotion
The Bank will no longer have a statutory responsibility to promote the development of the financial services industries in Ireland. From a legal perspective this will enable the Bank to focus on its regulatory function.
3.2 Regulatory Performance Statement
The Bank is obliged under the Act to prepare a regulatory performance statement. This statement will contain a review of the Bank’s regulatory performance during the proceeding year and will also detail the aims and objectives of regulatory activity for the current year. This latter section is described as a “Regulatory Performance Plan”. There is also provision in the Act for an international peer review of the Bank every four years.
The Act extends the powers of the Bank in relation to the appointment of authorised officers under the Insurance Act 1989. Under the Act the Bank will be empowered to appoint “suitably qualified persons” to be authorised officers in addition to its own employees.
Three-stage Legislative Programme
The Act is the first of a three-stage legislative programme designed to enhance financial regulation in the Ireland by:
- reforming the regulatory structure;
- enhancing the powers and functions of the Bank; and
- consolidating existing legislation on the regulation of financial services.
It is anticipated that a second Bill will be brought before the Oireachtas later this year which will enhance the powers and functions of the restructured Bank in relation to:
- the prudential supervision of individual financial institutions;
- the conduct of business, including the protection of consumer interests; and
- the overall stability of the financial system.
A third Bill will consolidate the existing statutory arrangements for the Bank and financial regulation in the State
As indicated, the Act is part of an evolving legislative programme to strengthen financial regulation. We will keep you updated as this programme develops.