On 8 January 2014 the Central Bank launched a new authorisation process for investment firms under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Directive 2004/39/EC) legislation. This followed a review of its existing authorisation process and an industry consultation process during October and November 2013 which included workshops and presentations involving legal firms and industry representative bodies. A&L Goodbody contributed to this process.

Depending on the Central Bank's determination of the complexity of their business models, applicant investment firms will be streamed along two tracks with the aim that simpler applications will be processed within three months and more complex applications will be processed within six months. Within both streams, there are various checkpoints and timing deadlines for the exchange of correspondence. In tandem with the above, the Central Bank has tailored the Application Form to match the risk of an applicant’s business model or business strategy and has improved the quality of the Guidance Note for applicants. It is hoped that the process will deliver significant transparency and efficiencies to the application process.