Ireland: Administrative Sanctions Settlement Procedure

Last Updated: 10 June 2014
Article by John O'Riordan

Most Read Contributor in Ireland, July 2017


The Central Bank's ("the Bank") 2013 updated Outline of the Administrative Sanctions Procedure (the "2013 Guidelines") was introduced to advise and assist a regulated entity faced with investigation by the Bank.

The Bank received powers in August 2004 to impose administrative sanctions and to enter into settlement agreements arising out of contraventions by regulated financial service providers and also by persons concerned in the management of regulated financial service providers arising out of certain prescribed contraventions.

The 2013 Guidelines were introduced to reflect the developments in the administrative sanctions procedure. It has become increasingly clear that that since the Bank received their powers in August 2004 they have been happy to agree settlements with regulated entities rather than going through a full inquiry with resulting sanctions on the regulated entity. In fact, every investigation into prescribed contraventions has to date resulted in a settlement rather than full blown administrative sanctions.

This article has been written to give more detailed information on the settlement process due to the prominent role it has played in the procedure to date. The process has also been afforded more clarity in the 2013 Guidelines, including details on settlement discounts. Therefore, it is important for regulated entities to be aware of the rules governing the settlement process in particular should they find themselves subject to the administrative sanctions procedure.

Central Bank's approach to settlement agreements

If the Bank suspects on reasonable grounds that a regulated entity is committing or has committed a prescribed contravention, the Bank may enter into a settlement agreement with that entity. This agreement must be in writing, and is binding upon both parties. The Bank considers that:

"in appropriate cases, it may be in the public interest for the Administrative Sanctions Procedure cases to settle, and settle as early as possible."1

All cases thus far have been settled; indicating that the Bank's preference is to engage with the settlement process if at all possible.

The Bank provides the following justifications for its settlement procedure:

  • a means of achieving an early resolution of the matter;
  • efficient use of the Bank's resources;
  • transparency – details of the case are published through publicity statements; and,
  • the costs and administrative burden of the extended sanctions process are avoided.2

Early settlement discount scheme

There is of course no obligation on the Bank to enter into the settlement procedure. However, as they have shown such a willingness to engage in the process, it is important that all regulated entities are familiar with the settlement process so they are prepared to engage as efficiently as possible with the Bank.

This is primarily because the Bank offers discounts on sanctions for early engagement with the settlement procedure. This discount scheme was in place before 2013, but was only effectively codified with the introduction of the 2013 Guidelines.

The discount scheme operates over two stages:

  • Stage One

    Once an investigation has commenced, the Bank may issue a letter offering the possibility of settlement.

    Stage one of the discount scheme is from the issuance of this letter for a period which is indicated in the settlement letter, this will vary on a case by case basis. If a settlement is arrived at within this timeframe, the percentage discount that will apply is anything up to a maximum of 30%
  • Stage Two

    From the end of stage one until the date on which a notice of inquiry is issued by the Bank the stage two discount will apply. This discount is anything up to a maximum of 10%

In assessing how much of a discount to give regulated entities, the Bank will have regard to factors such as their history of sanctions and how co-operative the entity has been. The opportunity to receive a substantial discount within stage one of the settlement process should be assessed by companies in the face of an inquiry by the Bank on a case by case basis. As all cases thus far have been settled, it appears that companies have to date taken a commercial decision by indicating to the Bank that they will co-operate with them.

Settlement Meeting and Agreement

If the company agrees to meet with the Bank, a settlement meeting will then be arranged between the Bank and the regulated entity. The Bank will write to the regulated entity notifying it of the sanction/s which it feels are appropriate. There is an onus on the party being investigated to openly disclose all material facts regarding their suspected contraventions.

The settlement agreement is conditional on this fact and the regulated entity should be aware that if they do not comply with this requirement the settlement agreement could be rescinded.

If an agreement is concluded it will include:

  • admissions to prescribed contraventions;
  • a statement that contraventions have ceased or are being addressed;
  • a statement from the regulated entity that it has disclosed all relevant information;
  • the sanctions agreed upon;
  • the discount for early settlement;
  • a detailed public statement; and,
  • any other relevant terms.

It is important that the regulated entity complies with the terms of the agreement. The Bank can apply to the High Court seeking a compliance order if they do not.

Another important part of the settlement procedure is the agreement that the Bank will release a public statement containing the name of the company, the contraventions, the facts of the case and the sanctions imposed. The settlement agreement itself is confidential, but the publicity statement is not.

These statements are generally reported on in the media and published on the Bank's website. The Bank considers these to be an important part of the settlement agreement process and as such they are a necessary element to any settlement.

Effect of Settlement Agreement

The company will generally have to pay a monetary penalty for its contravention, discounted as a result of the agreement if settled in the first two stages. The agreement will form part of the company's compliance record, which may influence the Bank's decisions in any further enforcement actions.

Any individual's involvement in a settlement agreement may be considered by the Bank when they are assessing a subsequent application as part of their fit and proper person test to work in a managing role in another regulated entity.

Clearly, companies should endeavour to ensure that they are in full compliance with all Central Bank regulations and attempt to avoid entering into practices which may result in a Central Bank investigation. However, if you are subject to such an investigation, our regulatory and administrative sanctions unit is experienced in these matters and can help guide you through the process.


1 Central Bank, Outline of the Administrative Sanctions Procedure 2013, 4.2.1

2 Central Bank, Outline of the Administrative Sanctions Procedure 2013, 4.2.2

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.