Addressing the Joint Committee on Economic Regulatory Affairs last week, the Head of Financial Regulation, Matthew Elderfield, outlined the key priorities for the Financial Regulator over the coming months. He said that consumer protection remains a top priority in the new regulatory structure.

The Consumer Protection Code will be reviewed together with minimum competency requirements. He confirmed that a fundamental overhaul of the regulatory model of financial services in Ireland was required and weaknesses in regulation that contributed to the financial crisis would be targeted. He said the new approach requires assertive risk-based regulation underpinned by a credible threat of enforcement. A review of the credit union sector is to be carried out and the tender process for this work is underway.

Finally, he confirmed that in the coming weeks a consultation paper on new corporate governance standards for banks and insurance companies will be published. These will set more exacting standards for boards of directors of banks and insurers and will include requirements relating to board composition and impose restrictions on the number of directorships that can be held at one time.