The Central Bank has updated its minimum competency requirements in light of its new powers under the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 (the “Act”). The Act created a harmonised system for the regulation of persons performing controlled functions or pre-approval controlled functions in regulated financial services providers (see article above on the new fitness and probity standards). The Minimum Competency Code 2011 (the “Code”) has been issued pursuant to Section 50 of the Act.

Part 1 of the Code specifies the minimum competency standards with which persons falling within the Code must comply when performing controlled or pre-approval controlled functions.  Part 2 of the Code imposes certain obligations on regulated firms under certain specified legal powers in connection with the minimum competency standards. Part 3 of the Code sets out details on the recognition of qualifications for the purposes of the minimum competency standards.

Amendments to the previous competency requirements include:

  • An annual requirement of 15 formal hours of CPD for all persons, including grandfathered persons, to replace the existing 3 year CPD cycle;
  • Inclusion of an ethics module in CPD programme;
  • Detailed supervision requirements for all new entrants;
  • Clarification on activities included within the scope of the requirements including restructuring and rescheduling of loans, amendments to insurance policies and services provided over the internet; and
  • Restructuring of the categories of retail financial products.

Compliance with the Code is one of a number of considerations which the Central Bank may take into account in deciding whether a person meets the standard of fitness and probity appropriate to the performance of a controlled function or a pre-approval controlled function within the meaning of Part 3 of the Act.