Ireland: Minimum Competency Framework Updated

Last Updated: 17 October 2017
Article by Robert Cain, Maedhbh Clancy, Elizabeth Bothwell and Jennifer McCarthy
Most Read Contributor in Ireland, February 2019

The Central Bank has introduced new minimum competency standards, which will come into force on 3 January 2018, to take account of recent EU developments in relation to professional knowledge and competency. The new standards comprise a revised Minimum Competency Code 2017 (the New MCC) and new Minimum Competency Regulations (the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 (Section 48(2)) Minimum Competency Regulations 2017) (the New Regulations).

This follows the Central Bank's November 2016 Consultation Paper on proposed changes to its existing Minimum Competency Code 2011. For further information on that consultation, please read our briefing: Minimum Competency Code to be updated (November 2016).

The Central Bank has also published a set of Questions and Answers in response to points raised in the 26 industry submissions received by it in relation to the consultation.


The standards set out in the New MCC apply to those who exercise a controlled function on a professional basis, including in relation to the provision of advice or information to consumers on retail financial products, arranging or offering to arrange retail financial products for consumers, providing advice or information to retail clients or elected-up professional clients on MiFID investment products or certain other services or activities listed in MiFID II, or arranging or offering to arrange MiFID investment products for retail clients or elected-up professional clients.

The New MCC does not apply to persons who exercise controlled functions solely in relation to the provision of a retail financial product free of charge in conjuncti another financial product.


As mentioned above, the minimum competency standards have been amended to take account of professional knowledge and competency requirements arising from:

  • the European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016, which transposed the Mortgage Credit Directive into Irish law (the Mortgage Credit Regulations);
  • MiFID II (which will come into force in Ireland on 3 January 2018);
  • ESMA's MiFID II Guidelines for the assessment of knowledge and competence (which will apply from 3 January 2018); and
  • the Insurance Distribution Directive (due to be transposed into Irish law by 23 February 2018).


The key changes to the existing minimum competency framework are:

  • regulated firms must ensure that their staff have obtained competence and skills that are appropriate to the function that they carry out through experience or training gained in an employment context, in addition to obtaining a relevant recognised qualification;
  • employees of MiFID firms must have a qualification and at least 6 months' experience, on a full time equivalent basis, relevant to the function to be exercised by 3 January 2018;
  • (re)insurers and intermediaries directly involved in (re)insurance distribution whose customers are not consumers are now required to complete 15 hours of CPD each year in accordance with the CPD requirements provided for in the New MCC;
  • a Certificate of Experience has been developed for new entrants carrying out MiFID services or activities which can be signed by the regulated firm to show that the minimum experience requirement has been met;
  • at least one key staff member with material influence on the final decision regarding the design of a retail financial product must meet a prescribed standard of minimum competency. The question of who has "material influence" is at the discretion of the relevant firm; and
  • regulated firms must carry out an annual review of the development and experience needs of their staff.


The New MCC is divided into 3 parts.

Part 1 deals with minimum competency standards in respect of certain controlled functions, mainly in respect of retail financial products and will capture the provision of certain MiFID II services or activities to retail clients and elected-up professional clients. Mortgage credit agreements (within the meaning of the Mortgage Credit Regulations) and structured deposits have now been included as retail financial products.

Part 2 deals with minimum competency standards in respect of certain additional functions which largely relate to non-consumer activities, and will capture the provision of certain MiFID II services or activities to per se professional clients.

Part 3 deals with the recognition of qualifications in relation to retail financial products. No additional qualifications have been recognised. "ADVICE" AND "INFORMATION" The definitions of "advice" and "information" have been changed to better align them with MiFID II, ESMA's MiFID II Guidelines for the assessment of knowledge and competence, the Mortgage Credit Regulations and the Insurance Distribution Directive.

"Advice" is now defined as "the provision of a personal recommendation to a person, whether at the person's request or at the initiative of the firm, in the course of performing a relevant function."

"Information" is now defined as "the provision of information to a person, whether at the person's request or at the initiative of the firm, that may assist the person in the choice of retail financial product, or in the context of the provision of MiFID services or activities..." There are various exceptions from what constitutes "information", including pointing out where clients can find information, providing information of a general nature, providing a brochure without giving information or providing any follow up investment advice, information provided in newspapers, journals and lectures, information given on television, information provided on an incidental basis and information provided by back-office staff who do not deal directly with clients.


The New Regulations contain provisions that:

  • impose general obligations on regulated firms to ensure compliance with the New MCC, and to ensure appropriate competence and skills;
  • require regulated firms that provide services via online platforms to ensure that the product selection process, and the manner in which advice and information is provided, are approved in writing by a person who meets specific standards;
  • set out conditions that must be satisfied when a prescribed script function is performed on behalf of a regulated firm;
  • require regulated firms to set up and maintain registers of accredited persons;
  • impose requirements on regulated firms regarding the supervision of new entrants and require that particular written records are maintained in respect of those new entrants;
  • require that firms provide statements of grandfathered status to grandfathered individuals who leave the firm, and keep such records and documents as may be needed to confirm the content of a duplicate of any such statement;  require that internal annual reviews be carried out to ensure that employees hold the right qualifications, and their development and experience needs;
  • set out requirements regarding continuing professional development and related record retention; and
  • impose more general record retention requirements.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions