Senior Executive Accountability Regime
The Central Bank and other international regulators have been prioritising 'individual accountability' for several years. The proposals to introduce a 'Senior Executive Accountability Regime' ('SEAR') in Ireland are a significant step in that development. The SEAR will interact with other Central Bank reforms to the current Fitness and Probity and Enforcement processes. These reforms will enhance the regulator's ability to hold individuals to account when regulatory contraventions occur in the business area for which they are responsible. They will also provide additional scrutiny in both the regulator's and firms' assessment of the 'fitness and probity' of individuals.
The SEAR will require firms to review and overhaul their senior management arrangements, governance and HR processes. This reform provides firms with an opportunity to take stock of these frameworks and improve the clarity, understanding and operation of individuals', committees' and teams' roles and responsibilities within their organisation.
Alongside the SEAR and other reforms to the Fitness and Probity and Enforcement processes are the introduction of Common Conduct Standards (for all individuals within the Fitness and Probity regime), Additional Conduct Standards (for certain senior individuals) and Business Conduct Standards, each of which applies to all regulated financial service providers. These Conduct Standards will impose additional standards on individuals within regulated firms and require firms to assess how they will train and support staff, 'embed' these principles in their organisation and navigate the interaction between these regulatory standards for individuals, the Fitness and Probity regime, employment obligations and HR processes.
Dario Dagostino, partner and co-head of the Disputes & Investigations Group discusses the key issues from the draft legislation.