The Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Bill began Dáil Finance Committee Stage this week (Wednesday 30 December). 69 amendments were proposed (mainly by the Department of Finance) with the majority being minor/for clarification purposes, and to reflect the ECB's role in fit and proper assessments in respect of those holding senior roles in 'significant' banks.
Following the publication of the Report arising from the Retail Banking Review the previous day (for more information on that Report, read our insights here: Retail Banking Report: 34 recommendations will now form part of Government policy), discussions regarding the easing of some of the remuneration restrictions on staff of retail banks took up almost half of the allocated slot for Committee Stage consideration of the Bill. As a result, only the first 22 of the 69 proposed amendments were discussed and agreed before the allocated time elapsed. The Committee will need to reconvene to continue its consideration of the Bill, and the Minister for Finance confirmed that he will make himself available at any time for those discussions. He reiterated his hope that the Bill will pass through all stages of the Houses of the Oireachtas by the Christmas recess.
An interesting point raised as part of the Committee discussions related to the provision in the Bill that contemplates an investigation being discontinued due to lack of resources – it is possible that this could be removed from the Bill at Dáil Report Stage.
The Minister also noted that the responsibility is on regulated firms to train their staff on the new framework, acknowledging the ongoing role played by law firms and other professional advisers in this area. Our Financial Regulation: Investigations and Enforcement Group advises on all aspects of the IAF and SEAR, including on its scope and practical implications. It continues to offer practical help to clients as they implement the new regime for their teams including advising on the preparation of management responsibility maps and statements of responsibility, guidance and training on the proposed new conduct standards for individuals and for firms, and navigation of the new fitness and probity certification process. The team also advises executives and other employees on the new duty of responsibility and on the new conduct standards. Please get in touch with any member of our team to talk through how we can assist you in relation to the implementation of the new framework.
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.