Financial Services Ombudsman and Office of the Pensions Ombudsman introduces changes to its complaint handling processes
The Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) has introduced a dedicated Dispute Resolution Service for complaints handling following a Strategic and Operational Review of the Bureau carried out by consulting firm BearingPoint. The review identified low levels of user satisfaction with the FSO due to the formality and complexity of the Bureau's processes. Under the new Dispute Resolution Service the FSO intends for mediation to be the preferred option in order to resolve complaints early on before investigating and adjudicating these complaints on a last resort basis. In announcing these changes Ombudsman Ger Deering clarified the FSO's intention to exercise its full adjudication powers to award compensation of up to €250,000, order rectification or request a financial service provider to change the practice complained of where conduct by the provider is considered by the FSO to be "unreasonable, unjust or oppressive" .
First Central Bank of Ireland Commission Meeting Minutes published
The minutes from the Central Bank of Ireland Commission meeting of 11 December 2015 have been published in line with a commitment by the Governor to do so. Meetings will be published on the Central Bank's website six-weeks after they are held. The December minutes detail the negative market reaction following the ECB’s decision to extend its asset purchase programme. In addition, discussions on a central credit register and on the use of Irish in the Central Bank's role took place.
Central Bank of Ireland publishes updated document explaining its 'PRISM' approach to supervision
The Central Bank has published an updated version of its 'PRISM Explained' document, which details the Central Bank's risk-based supervisory model in relation to financial institutions. The update includes references to the impact of Solvency II on the supervision of insurance undertakings, which includes the introduction of a separate set of Probability Risk Categories in respect of the Insurance Sector (largely mirroring the Solvency II requirements. The document outlines PRISM will cover both the Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process outlined under the Capital Requirements Directive and the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment requirements for insurance companies under the Solvency II Directive will be met through PRISM. The document also details the supervisory responsibilities of the Central Bank under the Single Supervisory Mechanism as it applies to 'Significant' and 'Less Significant' Institutions.
Department of Finance launches consultation on Member States discretions contained in 4th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive and Funds Transfer Regulation
The Department of Finance is seeking views in relation to the Member State discretions set out in the Directive on the Prevention of the use of the Financial System for the Purposes of Money Laundering or Terrorist Financing (4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive) and the Regulation on Information Accompanying Transfers of Funds (FTR). The Member State discretions refer to (i) exempting gambling services on proof of low risk; (ii) allowing obliged entities not to apply certain CDD measures in relation to e-money; (iii) beneficial ownership register of corporates and trusts; (iv) allowing obliged entities to mitigate risk through group structures; and (v) requiring ‘Central Contact Points’ to be appointed. In relation to the Funds, the consultation seeks views on the discretion to exclude certain types of payments from scope of the FTR.
Irish European Union (Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes) Regulations 2016 published
The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has published Regulations to give further effect to the 2013 EU Regulation on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes. The 2016 regulation clarifies how the offences under the rules apply to traders and alternative dispute resolution entities. Where either of these act in contravention of the EU rules relating to the transmission of complaints or the resolution of disputes, they may be liable on conviction for a Class A fine and/or to a prison term of up to 12 months.
Central Bank of Ireland publishes Consumer Protection Outlook Report
The Central Bank has published an Outlook Report which identifies risk areas for financial services customers and the Bank's consumer protection priorities going forward. In response to the identification of a lack of consumer-focussed culture within firms, the Central Bank's Director of Consumer Protection Bernard Sheridan reminded boards and senior management of their responsibilities in that regard. The priorities for the Central Bank in relation to Consumer Protection include seeking further progress on tracker mortgage examination, concluding consultations on transparency requirements for mortgage lenders, a supervisory focus on smaller retails firms and the introduction of an enhanced authorisation model for credit servicing firms, retail intermediaries and payment institutions.
The EU Commission launches consultation on improving double taxation dispute resolution mechanisms
As part of their Action Plan for Fair and Efficient Corporate Taxation, the EU Commission has launched a public consultation seeking views on how dispute resolution for double taxation issues can be facilitated, as an alternative to the current mechanisms provided for in the bilateral tax treaties entered into by Member States. The Consultation will close on 10 May 2016 and the Commission is seeking views on: (i) the significance of the removal of double taxation for cross-border enterprises; (ii) the impact and effectiveness of dispute resolution mechanisms on EU businesses; and (iii) how these mechanisms can be improved and comments on possible solutions.
SMSG Opinion Paper on historical data in the PRIIPs KID
On 5 February 2016, the ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority) published an opinion paper by its Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group on PRIIPs. The opinion outlines the Group's concerns relating to omission of historical data from the presentation of risks and rewards in the PRIIPs KID. It views this as an disadvantage to investor protection given that such data (a) is objective and testable, (b) provides a more comprehensible guide to retail investors than forward looking data, which can depend on choices and estimations; and (c) is less susceptible to manipulation or distortion.