The statutory building blocks may remain largely the same – for now – but the targeted profile raising and significant bump in resourcing, among other things, have imbued the CEA with an enhanced reach at a time when corporate governance (and its interaction with compliance) is increasingly on the minds of company boards and their advisors.
The CEA has already made significant strides in its mission to promote high standards of corporate behaviour through the enforcement of company law: publishing information notes on compliance with aspects of company law, being conferred with additional powers of investigation and enforcement relating to tax reporting and investigating offences relating to company law. It is safe to say that it has been an active year for the CEA and it continues to expand and hire additional staff members at senior levels.
This renewed focus on corporate governance is echoed by the public consultation by Ireland’s Department for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, which sought stakeholders' views on a proposed Companies (Corporate Governance and Regulatory Provisions) Bill ( the Bill). The Bill is intended to "enhance" the Companies Act 2014 and focuses on four key areas of company law: corporate governance, enforcement, administration and insolvency.
Significantly, the Bill put forward a number of proposed amendments to company law intended to:
further enhance the CEA's investigative capabilities by giving it certain additional powers
further enhance the CEA's enforcement capabilities by giving it access to certain court documents and by requiring that certain reports and associated information be made available to the CEA
streamline certain statutory enforcement processes
allow the CEA to share certain otherwise confidential information with additional statutory bodies
make it an offence to threaten or intimidate CEA officers
We await the outcome of the consultation, and the progress of the Bill, with interest.