DOMESTIC:

Central Bank publishes discussion paper on the Consumer Protection Code and the Digitalisation of Financial Services

Due to the risks and benefits arising from the digitalisation of financial services for consumers the Central Bank (CBI) committed in the Consumer Protection Outlook Report to publishing a discussion paper on the area as it relates to the Consumer Protection Code. The consultation focuses on digitalisation and the evolving financial services landscape, potential benefits and risks to consumer and whether the consumer protection framework needs to be enhanced. Comments can be submitted until 27 October 2017.

Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive - 26 June 2017

Ireland implemented Article 30 of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive on (AMLD4) on 15 November 2016, however, following the announcement of the plans to introduce the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) it is likely that the implementing legislation for the remaining provisions will not be published by the Government until AMLD5 is settled.

EUROPEAN:

European Securities and Markets Authority publishes its Annual Report for 2016

The report outlined European Securities and Markets Authorities (ESMA) keys successes and deliveries for 2016 as advising on the extension of Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) third country passport to 12 non-EU countries, finalising the Benchmarks Regulation standards, preparing technical standards pursuant to European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) related to trade repositories and trade reporting and publishing technical standards on the bilateral margining of derivatives not cleared.

ESMA's Chair also outlined that moving forward he sees the UK's decision to leave the EU, the Commission’s review of the operations of the European Supervisory Authorities and the implementation of Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II) and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (MiFIR) as key issues in 2017.

European Banking Authority publishes the Consumer Trends Report 2017

The annual report covers the retail banking products that fall within the European Banking Authorities (EBA) consumer protection mandate, including mortgages, personal loans, deposits, payment accounts, payment services and electronic money. The Report also provides an overview of the topical issues identified in 2017 that may impact consumers and other market participants including indebtedness, banking fees and costs, selling practices, innovation in payments, foreign currency loans, alternative financial services providers, and innovative uses of consumer data.

European Council agrees position on the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive

The European Council has adopted a position on the AMLD5 which aims to counter money laundering by criminal law. The discussions by the council centered around the scope of the definition of "criminal activity", the introduction of a criminalisation obligation for self-laundering and the link to the Protection of the Union's Financial Interests (PIF) Directive. The Parliament will consider its position at the 23 to 26 October 2017 plenary session and once it has agreed its final position, it will enter negotiations with the Council on the final text of AMLD5.

European Supervisory Authorities publish final guidelines on the factors to be considered when carrying out Simplified and Enhanced Customer Due Diligence to assess Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risks

On 26 June, 2017 the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) issued guidelines on the risk factors (generic and sector specific) to be taken into consideration where simplified customer due diligence and enhanced customer due diligence is appropriate. There is a long lead-in time for compliance with these guidelines as National Competent Authorities (NCAs) and firms do not need to comply until 26 June 2018.

Commission publishes report on the assessment of the risks of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing affecting the Internal Market and relating to Cross-Border Activities

The Commission has issued a supra-national assessment of the money laundering and terrorism financing risks in different sectors and financial products affecting the internal market and relating to cross-border activities. It identifies the areas which are most vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing risks as well as the techniques most commonly used. The report also highlights mitigating measures that should pursued at a national and European level to combat the risks identified.

European Banking Authority publishes opinion in response to the Commission's intention to amend the Technical Standards for open and secure electronic payments under the Payment Services Directive II

The EBA has published an opinion responding to the Commission's amendments to the draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) that they published in order to establish the legislative framework as mandated by the Payment Services Directive II (PSD II). The EBA concluded that while they agree with the aim of amendments proposed by the Commission they disagree with three of the four concrete changes proposed. The EBA also proposed an alternative approach in order to retain the balance they tried to achieve.

European Banking Authority launches consultation on the draft RTS in relation to the appointment and functions of a central contact point under PSD II

Under Article 29(4) of PSD II a central contact point can be appointed in order to facilitate the supervision of payment institutions (PIs) and electronic money institutions (EMIs) providing cross-border payment services in another Member State via an agent. The EBA have launched a consultation in order to determine the circumstances in which such an appointment is appropriate. The EBA are also consulting on what the functions of those central contact points will be. The consultation will run until 28 September 2017.

Commission publishes feedback statement on the consultation on the operation of the European Supervisory Authorities

The Commission received 227 responses to the consultation on the operation of the ESAs from a variety of sectors. They have produced a feedback statement on the responses received in relation to tasks and powers of the ESAs, governance of the ESAs, the ability to adapt the supervisory architecture to challenges in the market place and the funding of the ESAs.

European Central Bank announces plan to develop a service for the Settlement of Instant Payments

The European Central Bank (ECB) has announced that it will develop a new service called Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) which will allow for the settlement of instant payments. This service will allow consumers and businesses to make instant payments at all times. TIPS is scheduled to begin operating in November 2018.

Commission publishes Transparency Rules for Tax Planning Intermediaries

The proposal sets out that intermediaries will have to report any cross border tax planning arrangement that they design or promote which falls within the scope of the Directive. The proposal has a wide scope covering all intermediaries including banks, consultants, lawyers, accountants and financial advisors. The proposal will be an amendment to the Directive for Administration Cooperation (DAC) and it is expected the reporting requirements will be in place by January 2019.