The Central Bank Reform Act, 2010 (Sections 20 and 22) Regulations 2011 (“Regulations”) and the accompanying Fitness and Probity Standards Code (“Code”) issued under Section 50 of the Central Bank Reform Act, 2010 (“Act”) were published on 1 September 2011. These will apply to all regulated financial services providers (with the exception of credit unions).

The Central Bank has also issued Draft Guidance on the Standards to assist regulated financial services providers in complying with their obligations. The Central Bank  requested that interested parties make submissions in relation to the Draft Guidance by 30 September 2011. Final guidance will be published following receipt and consideration of this feedback.

A detailed overview of the new Standards and requirements can be accessed by clicking here. Key points of the Fitness and Probity Standards are summarised below.

The Act created a statutory system for the regulation of persons performing “controlled functions” or  “pre-approval controlled functions” and the Code specifies the Standards of Fitness and Probity (the “Standards”) which all persons performing these functions must, at a minimum, comply with.

Requirements

The Standards require a person to be:

  • competent and capable;
  • honest ethical and to act with integrity; and
  • financially sound. 

Failure to comply

Where there is a failure by a person to comply with the Code, the Central Bank may:

  • refuse to approve such person to perform the relevant function (in the case of a pre-approval controlled function);
  • conduct an investigation into the fitness and probity of the relevant person; or
  • issue a prohibition notice under the Act which prohibits the relevant person from acting in the relevant function.

Regulated financial service providers may not permit any person to perform a controlled function unless they are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the person complies with the Code and that the person has agreed to abide by the Standards. The Draft Guidance contains a template agreement to be signed by the employee in this regard. Failure by the financial service provider to do so may expose the entity and/or its management to financial penalties and other sanctions.

Key dates

The Regulations and Guidelines set out the following key compliance dates:

1 December 2011: The Standards will apply to persons occupying Pre-Approval Controlled Functions

1 March 2012: The Standards will apply to persons appointed to Controlled Functions (other than Pre-Approval Controlled Functions”. This includes new offers of employment and internal transfers/promotions which may involve a Controlled Function role.

1 December 2012: The Standards will apply to all persons occupying Controlled Functions.