Tracker, Financial Services Regulation & Compliance - Cross Sectoral


DOMESTIC

Central Bank of Ireland publishes research on consumer perceptions of complaints handling in regulated firms
The Central Bank has published research commissioned in order to examine consumer perceptions of complaint handling in regulated firms. The results of the survey (commissioned in the context of the minimum requirements for complaints handling set out in the Consumer Protection Code 2012) show that out of those surveyed who had made complaints to regulated firms, a minority (41%) felt they had been treated fairly and only 39% were satisfied with how their complaint was dealt with. The results of the research report that the most important aspects to consumers in a complaints handling process are the authority, experience and knowledge of the named contact (with respondents who had a named contact during the process being more satisfied); and timely resolution of complaints. Central Bank Director of Consumer Protection, Bernard Sheridan has expressed concerns arising from the results of the survey, emphasising the importance of regulated firms considering the findings of this research in order to ensure a fair approach to consumers is taken.

Minster for Finance publishes two reports prepared by the Credit Union Advisory Committee
The CUAC, a statutory committee, established under the Credit Union Act 1997 to advise the Minister for Finance on credit union matters has prepared two reports, as published by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan T.D. 'A Survey of Irish Credit Unions' is the result of a survey of 101 credit unions carried out between March and June 2015 which shows how these institutions view their strengths and constraints going forward. 'Viability and Irish Credit Unions' is a discussion paper developed by the Committee (following discussions with a number of credit unions) showing how a credit union’s viability could be measured - the Committee suggests the credit union’s surplus and capital strength be measured together.

Central Bank of Ireland Director of Consumer Protection gives speech on FinTech
The Central Bank's Director of Consumer Protection, Bernard Sheridan addressed the European Tech Summit saying that the impact of FinTech is becoming more evident, with a significant level of interest from regulatory bodies in the progress of these firms. The Director pointed out that the Central Bank's Consumer Protection Outlook Report highlighted financial innovations as a key consumer risk area, stating that the consumer benefits must be matched by service reliability, safety and security, and transparency of cost of services. In addition, the Central Bank's consumer protection work in relation to authorisations, risk identification and monitoring and product development is changing with the increasing volume of FinTech. In his closing, the Director encouraged a greater level of engagement between FinTech innovators and the Central Bank.

The Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) (Amendment) Bill 2016
The Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement)(Amendment) Bill 2016 has been proposed by Fine Gael Deputy Noel Rock as a Private Member's Bill and proposes to address how the Central Bank introduce new rules. The explanatory note to this Bill states that the practical effect of the Central Bank regulations on mortgage lending has been "disproportionate towards certain potential homeowners in society" and that it excludes "an overly large number of potential homeowners from the housing market". The proposed Bill amends certain sections of the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 in order to ensure that there will be more engagement with the Minister for Finance and the Joint Oireachtas Committees in future. The new sections would allow the Minister to respond with his views or offer amendments on draft proposed Central Bank regulations "to ensure they are fit for purpose, and are responsive to the current economic environment". The Governor may not proceed with draft regulations before these reviews are considered and responded to in detail. The proposed Bill also requires that the Joint Committees be consulted in certain circumstances.

Central Bank of Ireland publishes May edition of Intermediary Times
The Central Bank has published its May 2016 edition of their 'Intermediary Times' newsletter, which highlights topics of interest and regulatory issues relevant to retail intermediary firms. This month the newsletter includes details of two reviews carried out by the Central Bank - a review of Non-Compliant Retail Intermediaries and a thematic review of client asset. Among other articles, the May edition of the newsletter also details the Funding Arrangements of the Investor Compensation Company Limited for 2016 – 2019.

Central Bank of Ireland Director of Policy and Risk gives comments at the EY Non-Executive Director Breakfast Forum
Central Bank of Ireland Director of Policy and Risk Gerry Cross has given a speech at the Ernst & Young Non-Executive Director Breakfast Forum outlining current themes for the Central Bank. The Director stated his opinion that the level of financial regulation already introduced in the last few years means that "we are now more or less in the right place". He warned that a danger of over- or ill-designed legislation should be avoided. The Director also outlined the current areas of interest for the regulator which include liquidity risks in the funds sector, corporate culture, the role of culture in risk management and risks including IT and cyber risks and Brexit.

EUROPEAN

Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities publishes Opinion on the EU Commission’s proposed amendment of the draft Implementing Technical Standards on the mapping of External Credit Assessment Institutions' credit assessment
The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities has published its Opinion on the amendments proposed by the EU Commission on the draft ITS on credit quality steps for ECAIs credit assessments under the Capital Requirements Regulation and the Solvency II Directive. The Joint Committee disagrees with the approach taken by the EU Commission to extend the quantitative requirements proposed by the Joint Committee to apply for a phase-in period of three years, preferring the initial ITS proposed by them. The Joint Committee is of the view that favouring competition aspects over prudential considerations increases the risk to financial stability and is not in line with the mandate given to the European Supervisory Authorities.

EU Commission publishes document on crowdfunding as an alternative source of finance
The EU Commission has published a report on the EU crowdfunding sector under the Capital Markets Union Action plan indicating its support for crowdfunding as an alternative source of finance for EU start-ups. The EU Commission is of the view that crowdfunding has the potential to be a key source of financing for SMEs over the long term if appropriately regulated, however there is no strong case for an EU level framework presently. The EU Commission will continue to monitor this situation and has committed to twice yearly meetings with regulators and the sector in order to determine if measures for investor protection or regulatory convergence are required. According to the EU Commission €4.2 billion was raised through crowdfunding platforms in 2015 in the EU, compared with €1.6 billion in 2014.

EU Commission publishes road map on REFIT evaluation of Financial Conglomerates Directive
The EU Commission has published a road map of the evaluation of the Financial Conglomerates Directive (FICOD), as part of its regulatory fitness and performance programme. The evaluation will involve identifying the effectiveness and relevance of FICOD in terms of achieving its objectives and any possible issues will be identified. As part of this evaluation, the EU Commission has stated its intention to publish a consultation paper on the evaluation of FICOD, seeking views on the quantitative and qualitative effects of the implementation of the FICOD, the continuing relevance of the weaknesses identified in the FICOD in the EU Commission's 2012 report on the directive, the current relevance of the FICOD for the current structures of mixed-financial activity groups in the EU market; and the future relevance of the FICOD in the light of changes to the regulatory framework made by CRD IV and Solvency II.

EU Commission publishes summary of contributions received from its 'call for evidence' on EU regulatory framework for financial services
The EU Commission has published a summary of contributions received to its call for evidence on the EU regulatory framework for financial services launched in 30 September 2015. Following the conclusion of a public consultation, the Feedback Statement sets out how the respondents viewed – the rules affecting the ability of the economy to finance itself, unnecessary regulatory burdens, inconsistencies and gaps in legislation and any unintended consequences of rules. Issues identified include the possibility of the proposed financial transaction tax being a barrier to investment in EU companies, the burdens imposed by the liquidity coverage ratio and the Market Abuse Regulation (in relation to SME growth market issuers) respectively and unequal treatment between real estate and infrastructure. In addition, some respondents felt that the complex regulatory frameworks were a barrier to entry for smaller market participants and some pointed to compliance costs as an issue.

EU Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs publishes draft report on the Green Paper on Retail Financial Services
The EU Parliament's ECON committee has published a draft report on the Green Paper on Retail Financial Services, where it supports the EU Commission's green paper. The report endorses the EU Commission's 'dynamic approach to policy making' in targeting a number of areas in the paper which might complement current legislation were these rules introduced. The ECON Committee has underlined the importance of getting level two measures 'fit and proper' ahead of time and has stated that the EU Commission Green Paper is timely since digitalization of financial services is fast opening new market possibilities. The ECON Committee does state in its report, however, that the ideas set out in the Green Paper would need to be underpinned by empirical information before embarking on a legislative process. The challenges (amongst others) of introducing legislation in this field, according to the report, are making identification work in practice and ensuring that legislative initiatives proposed will be technology and business neutral to allow for change.

For further information please contact a member of the Financial Regulation team.

Date published: 03 June 2016