Financial Regulation

Our Financial Regulation Unit provides practical and clear advice to financial institutions on all aspects of regulation and compliance in the financial services sector.

The team brings together lawyers specialising in different areas of the financial services sector.

Our clients include leading banks, investment firms and intermediaries, (re)insurance undertakings, collective investment schemes, fund service providers, regulatory authorities and investors in financial institutions.

Our services include advising on:

  • authorisation requirements and applications for regulated financial services providers and extension of authorisations
  • winding down of business of regulated financial services providers and surrender of authorisations
  • acquisition and disposal of qualifying holdings in regulated financial services providers
  • regulatory issues arising in mergers and acquisitions in the financial services sector
  • regulatory capital requirements
  • regulation of payment services, payment institutions and electronic money institutions
  • fitness and probity regime
  • corporate governance issues for regulated financial services providers
  • compliance with conduct of business requirements including under MiFID and the CPC
  • insider dealing and market abuse
  • transparency and prospectus requirements
  • anti-money laundering compliance
  • investigation and enforcement of regulatory standards including administrative sanctions.

We also provide regulatory and corporate governance health checks and practical advice on the impact of new regulatory developments.



Our Financial Regulation Unit provides an overview of the process and requirements for securing authorisation as an electronic money institution / e-money institution from the Central Bank of Ireland. Read our full briefing here









AML CFTOn 6 September 2019, the Central Bank of Ireland published revised 'Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Guidelines for the Financial Sector'. Read our full briefing here.









WF Dear CEOThe CBI's recent "Dear CEO Letter" outlines supervisory expectations surrounding regulated financial services providers' compliance with the Fitness and Probity Regime. Read the full briefing here.









FinReg 09.04.19The European Banking Authority ("EBA") have issued revised Guidelines on Outsourcing Arrangements, following a consultation period on a draft version of the Guidelines which ended 24 September 2018. The Guidelines enter into force on 30 September 2019 and contain some transitional periods, for example, to allow for firms to implement a register of all outsourcing arrangements. Read our full briefing here.







FinReg Feb19

On 21 January 2019, the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) (Amendment) Act 2018 ("2018 Act") commenced. The purpose of the 2018 Act is to expand the definition of a 'credit servicing firm' and bring within the existing credit servicing framework, entities that acquire legal title to certain loans (performing and non-performing consumer loans) and associated ownership activities. Entities that fall within the expanded definition of a credit servicing firm must be authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland. Read our full briefing here.





CBI Outsourcing

The CBI publishes a report on outsourcing which has significant implications for firms' boards, senior management and outsourcing arrangements. Read our full briefing here









5 and 6 anti-money laundering directives

The Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (MLD5) entered into force on 9 July 2018 and Member States have until 10 January 2020 to transpose the majority of its provisions. Read our full briefing here.









Criminal Justice Act 2018 - Nov 18

On 14 November 2018, legislation was enacted to fully transpose the Fourth Anti Money Laundering Directive (MLD4) into Irish law. Read our full briefing here.  










Strategic Plan 19-21

 The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has published its Strategic Plan for the next three years. Click here to read more.









Central Bank Briefing Doc Aug18

The Central Bank of Ireland proposes greater accountability of senior individuals in banks, insurance firms and MiFID investment firms. Read our full briefing here.









Our recent transactional experience includes advising/acting for:

  • State Street Bank on its acquisition of the Irish Goldman Sachs hedge fund administration business.
  • Fairfax Financial Holdings, WL Ross and Kennedy Wilson, on the acquisition of a 34% stake in Bank of Ireland from the Irish Government.
  • J & E Davy on its acquisition of the private client and fund administration business of Bloxham Stockbrokers.
  • Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. on the sale of its investment management division AIB Asset Management Holdings (Ireland) Limited to Prescient Holdings (PTY) Limited.
  • Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. on the sale of Goodbody Stockbrokers to Fexco.
  • Goldman Sachs as sponsor on the restructuring of Irish Life & Permanent Holdings into bank and life assurance structures in advance of State recapitalisation.
  • WIPRO Group on its Irish establishment and acquisition of the activities of Lloyds TSB Insurance Services.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the sale of its US, Irish and Jersey fund administration businesses.
  • SunLife Assurance Company of Canada on the sale of the Irish reinsurer Sun Life Reinsurance Ireland to Berkshire Hathaway, including all Central Bank of Ireland and other regulatory liaison.
  • Merrion Capital and the MBO team on its buy-back from Landesbanki.
  • Fidelity Investments on the establishment of its Irish unit-linked life insurance company.
  • Ahli United Bank plc on the redomicilation of its Cayman range of funds to Ireland representing the continued development of Ireland as the preferred domicile for promoters from the Middle East region.
  • Alterra on the High Court merger of its insurance and reinsurance platforms in advance of proposed implementation of Solvency II.
  • Santander on the launch of its Irish pan-European payment protection insurance platform.
  • AXA on the set-up of its AXA Life Europe variable annuity life company and the AXA Cessions insurance-linked securitisation programmes.

Central Bank Dear CEO Letter to Payment Institutions and Electronic Money Institutions (January 2023)

On 20 January 2023, the Central Bank published a Dear CEO Letter to payment institutions and electronic money institutions highlighting recent supervisory weaknesses identified and reaffirming supervisory expectations and actions for these sectors.

Central Bank Highlights Key Prudential Risks Facing Irish Insurers in 2023

The Central Bank of Ireland highlights the key prudential risks that will inform its 2023 supervisory priorities for the Irish insurance sector.

Sustainability Risks under Solvency II – a Discussion Paper from EIOPA

On 5 December 2022, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published a lengthy discussion paper on the "Prudential Treatment of Sustainability Risks" (the Discussion Paper).

Asset Management & Investment Funds Update - December 2022

Welcome to the December 2022 edition of our Asset Management & Investment Funds Update.

William Fry Podcast Series – Preparing for Individual Accountability

An insight into the William Fry five-part series on the forthcoming Individual Accountability Framework.

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  • William Fry's Financial Regulation team have been described as "excellent and no weaknesses." IFLR1000 2020 
  • Shane Kelleher has been ranked in Chambers FinTech 2020, one interviewee says: “Shane is up there as one of the experts in payment licences, e-money and in working with lots of FinTechs." 
  • Sources praise the lawyers' "knowledge of the Irish regulatory environment," saying: "They know how the Central Bank is likely to view things." Clients further describe the team as "responsive and commercial." Chambers Europe 2020
  • A very happy customer say "we have used Shane Kelleher and his team in relation to an application to the CBI for regulatory authorisation. Shane knows the regulator well and knows how to deal with them. The William Fry team has been diligent, responsive and available while also trying to ensure we work together in the most cost efficient and productive manner". Another client says "William Fry has been exemplary in its work. It has assigned experts to what has been a very technically demanding assignment. A very responsive and professional approach has been adopted consistently ....Comprehensive understanding of market regulatory requirements, concise and up-to-date regulatory advice, broad knowledge base and practical business understanding when providing advice" IFLR 1000 2019 
  • "William Fry give responsive, comprehensive and thorough advice. William Fry are available with advice on tight deadlines when required". IFLR 1000 2019
  • A client states "very professional firm with a good team in place. Their strength is their people and breadth of experience on various projects" IFLR 1000 2019
  • One client says "they are extremely capable, pragmatic, practical and very responsive". Another happy client says "William Fry has a very wide-reaching level of expertise and in-depth knowledge, and another strength is the consistently high quality of the staff". Chambers Europe 2019
  • One happy client says: "Their legal expertise, service levels and business-friendly approach sets them apart. I have recommended the team to other parties and continue to do so." Another source notes: "The firm is committed to its clients and develops strong relationships with them." Chambers Europe 2018
  • "They were very commercial on complex deals, extracted the important parts, were very proactive and made sure that nothing slipped away." Clients also point out that "they have a nice house style: professional, friendly and courteous."Chambers Europe, 2017 
  •  "The lawyers took a personal interest in the work and the overall objective was always in their minds. There was a big team offering a lot of strength throughout." 
    "This firm had the size and skills to handle a particularly complex transaction, and the commitment to throw the necessary resources at the job." 
    Chambers Europe 2016
  • William Fry is an "excellent practice". Legal 500 EMEA 2016

Key Contacts

Shane Kelleher Partner

Derek Hegarty Partner

Patricia Taylor Partner

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