The Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 (the “Act”) came into force on 1 August 2013.

The Act strengthens the powers of the Central Bank to impose and supervise compliance with regulatory requirements. The Central Bank is provided with greater access to information and analysis, including the power to require financial service providers to commission an independent and objective report on any aspect of their business.

Additional powers afforded to the Central Bank include the following:

  • Powers of the Central Bank to introduce customer redress schemes for problems such as overcharging or systems failures;
  • The Central Bank may draft regulations and issue directions on a range of conduct-of-business areas, including consumer protection;
  • The Central Bank's enforcement powers have been strengthened under the Act. For example, the Central Bank may seek a High Court order restraining a person from engaging in conduct that contravenes a provision of financial services legislation;
  • A doubling of the maximum administrative sanction that the Central Bank may impose from €0.5 million to €1 million for an individual and from €5 million to €10 million for a firm;
  • Enhanced powers of inspection, investigation and information gathering for Central Bank authorised officers; and
  • The Central Bank can require an auditor to provide a written report on compliance by a financial service provider with certain requirements.

Other key features of the Act include:

  • A new regulatory regime for debt management and debt advice;
  • The Financial Services Ombudsman can name financial service providers that are the subject of complaints;
  • Enhanced protections for whistle-blowers and the provision of assistance by the Central Bank to overseas supervisors; and
  • A new system to allow banks from outside the EU to apply to set up a branch in Ireland.

Please click here to view the Act in full.