The Central Bank has published a sixth edition and a special edition 2 (issue five) of the Intermediary Times. 

Special Edition 2 

The special edition examines the authorisation / post-authorisation / revocation processes for the retail intermediary sector following a detailed review by the Central Bank.  It examines elements of those processes and sets out various amendments and enhancements made by the Central Bank. 

  1. Authorisations 

The Central Bank has introduced a new single application form for all intermediary applications.  This replaces the three separate application forms for authorisation as a retail investment intermediary, insurance intermediary and mortgage intermediary.  Once the application has been received, the Regulatory Transactions Division will issue login details to the firm within five days so that all relevant Individual Questionnaires (IQs) can be submitted in respect of holders of pre-approval control functions (PCFs).

Applicants wishing to change from a sole trader to a limited company or vice versa are required to submit a new application. 

  1. Post-Authorisations

Once an authorisation has been granted, a firm must keep the Central Bank informed of any relevant changes relating to its authorisation. 

Some of the common issues identified by the Central Bank which lead to discrepancies between the Central Bank’s records and the information submitted by regulated entities via the ONR include the following:

  • The use of trading names which have not been previously notified to the Central Bank;
  • Failure to notify the Central Bank of changes to a firm’s contact details; and
  • Failure of firms authorised under the Investment Intermediaries Act, 1995 (IIA) to notify the Central Bank in advance and seek approval for certain shareholding charges.
  1. Minimum Competency Code 2011

The ongoing monitoring and compliance with the Minimum Competency Code (MCC) is crucial for the protection of consumers and is one of the post-authorisation key risk indicators in assessing a firm’s potential risk to consumers. 

The Central Bank has therefore designed a questionnaire for completion by retail intermediaries for the purpose of assisting it in assessing a firm's compliance with the MCC. 

The questionnaire seeks information on a number of areas including the following:

  • Overview of retail financial products offered by the firm;
  • Staff profile within the firm;
  • New entrant arrangements; and
  • Prescribed script functions.
  1. Revocations

The Central Bank has updated the application form for revocation of authorisation / registration of investment, insurance / re-insurance and mortgage intermediaries. A number of changes have been made in order to simplify the revocation process for all retail intermediaries.

  1. Planned Developments

Additional changes proposed for 2013 / 2014 to further develop the authorisation / post-authorisation / revocation process include the following:

  • Introduce an acquiring transaction application form;
  • Update the Central Bank website to include guidance on these processes and FAQs; and
  • Introduce service sector standards.

Please click here to view the special edition in full. 

Issue 6 of the Intermediary Times 

Topics covered in Issue 6 include the following: 

  1. Consultation Paper for the Revision of the Handbook of Prudential Requirements for Authorised Advisors and Restricted Intermediaries (CP72). 

The Central Bank is seeking views on a number of key proposals, including the reclassification of authorised advisors and restricted intermediaries, minimum regulatory capital requirements, solvency, goodwill and other intangibles and professional indemnity insurance.  

Submissions are invited from all interested parties by Friday 29 November 2013.  

Please click here to view the consultation paper in full. 

  1. New Regulatory Regime for Debt Management Firms

Firms engaged in the provision of debt management services are now required to be authorised by the Central Bank. The consultation paper (CP70) issued by the Central Bank in respect of the proposed regulatory regime to apply to debt management firms closed on 23 September 2013. Timelines to finalise the proposed authorisation requirements and standards for debt management firms have been published on the Central Bank's website. 

Firms that were providing debt management services prior to 1 August 2013 are required to submit an application for authorisation to the Central Bank by 31 October 2013 in order to continue to provide these services, pending a decision being made by the Central Bank on their application. Applications may be made based on either the draft or finalised requirements. 

  1. New Application Form for Authorisation 

The Central Bank has finalised its consolidated authorisation application form. This will replace the three separate application forms for authorisation as a retail investment intermediary, insurance intermediary and mortgage intermediary. 

  1. Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs)

Intermediaries who intend to act as PIPs under the new Personal Insolvency Practitioners Regime should be mindful of provisions 4.7-4.11 (Information About Regulatory Status) of the Consumer Protection Code 2012 in relation to regulatory disclosure statements, as it is not an activity regulated by the Central Bank. 

Please click here to view Issue 6 of the Intermediary Times.