DOMESTIC:

Central Bank Act 1942 (Financial Services Ombudsman Council) Levies and Fees Regulations 2017 (S.I. No. 54 of 2017) is published

The Regulation sets levies payable by regulated entities in respect of their liability for the year ended 31 December 2017.

Director of Policy and Risk at the Central Bank, Gerry Cross, addresses the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach

Director Cross welcomed the reform package which finalises important elements of the post-crisis financial reform package. Director Cross also discussed the proposal to introduce the Net Stable Funding Ratio as a harmonised binding requirement at EU level, the calibration of the Minimum Requirement for Own Funds and Eligible Liabilities and the partial harmonisation of the creditor hierarchy in insolvency and resolution.

Central Bank publishes Gender breakdown of applications received for certain roles in regulated firms 2012 to 2016

The analysis was based on applications to the Central Bank in respect of Pre-Approval Controlled Functions. The Central Bank expressed concern at the significant gender imbalance demonstrated by the data.

Registrar of Credit Unions at the Central Bank, Anne Marie McKiernan, addresses the Credit Union Managers’ Spring Conference on the topic of business models

Ms. McKiernan focused on business model challenges faced by credit unions and stated that credit unions needed to: meet existing obligations to members to safeguard their funds by meeting the Central Bank's regulatory requirements; and develop financial and operational strength, and capability, to manage the transition to different business model offerings, and deal with the risks involved. Ms. McKiernan also stated that the Central Bank has developed a new function in the Registry to engage on business model change with credit unions. Ms. McKiernan went on to outline the three major themes arising from Central Bank engagement with business models and stated the Central Bank's view on each of:

1. Payment account services, including debit cards;

2. Longer term lending, with an emphasis on mortgages; and

3. Investment in social housing.

Central Bank announces the departure of Cyril Roux, Deputy Governor, Financial Regulation

Deputy Governor, Cyril Roux, will depart in September 2017 to join the private sector. The process for the recruitment of his successor is yet to be announced.

Central Bank introduces new Consumer Protection Risk Assessment (CPRA) Model

The Model establishes a new and more intrusive approach for supervisory assessments of regulated firms in relation to conduct and consumer protection risk management. In particular the CPRA Model focuses on culture, performance management, sales incentives and product governance.

Central Bank publishes a Guide to Consumer Protection Risk Assessment (CPRA)

The Guide sets out the Central Banks's approach to carrying out CPRAs. The Guide states that firm-specific CPRAs will form a key part of the Central Bank's supervisory framework for credit institutions, non-bank lenders, insurance undertakings, investment firms, large retail intermediaries, payment institutions and e-money institutions. CPRAs will be used to assess how these firms are identifying and managing risks to consumers in the context of their strategies, business models and their internal structures and processes.

Governor of the Central Bank, Philip R. Lane, addresses Barclays European Financial Capital Summit on the implications of Brexit on European financial integration

Governor Lane addressed the main issues in relation to the European Financial system (such as the new organisational configurations that will be triggered by Brexit) before turning to the regulatory perspective of the Central Bank of Ireland on Brexit (where he emphasised that an entity establishing in Ireland must be substantively run from Ireland with a setup that permits effective supervision, where local management are accountable for decision making).

Central Bank launches Consultation on New Methodology to Calculate Funding Levies

The Consultation Paper proposes that the industry funding levy for banks be calculated according to the ECB methodology. The industry funding levy for investment firms and fund service providers would be smoothed, replacing the stepwise levy by a smoothed function. EEA insurers, which are regulated by the Central Bank for conduct of business, would be levied more if they are large or write motor business in Ireland. The Consultation closes on 28 April 2017.

EUROPEAN:

Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/391, Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/389, Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/393, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/390, Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/394, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/392 and Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/391 (which supplement the Central Securities Depositories Regulation) are published in the Official Journal

  • Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/391 introduces regulatory technical standards specifying the content of the reporting on internalised settlements and applies from 10 March 2019.
  • Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/389 specifies the parameters for the calculation of cash penalties for settlement fails and the operations of CSDs in host Member States and applies from 10 March 2019, with the exception of Article 2, 3, 7 and 8.
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/393 sets out technical standards with regard to the templates and procedures for the reporting and transmission of information on internalised settlements and enters into force on 10 March 2019.
  • Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/390 specifies regulatory technical standards on certain prudential requirements for central securities depositories and designated credit institutions offering banking-type ancillary services and enters into force on 30 March 2017.
  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/394 lays down implementing technical standards with regard to standard forms, templates and procedures for authorisation, review and evaluation of central securities depositories, for the cooperation between authorities of the home Member State and the host Member State, for the consultation of authorities involved in the authorisation to provide banking-type ancillary services, for access involving central securities depositories, and with regard to the format of the records to be maintained by central securities depositories. The Regulation enters into force on 30 March 2017.
  • Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/392 specifies regulatory technical standards on authorisation, supervisory and operational requirements for central securities depositories and enters into force on 30 March 2017.
  • Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/391 specifies the content of the reporting on internalised settlements and applies from 10 March 2019.

European Economic and Social Committee publishes an Opinion on the proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EU) No 345/2013 on European venture capital funds (EuVECA) and Regulation (EU) No 346/2013 on European social entrepreneurship funds (EuSEF)

The Opinion states that updating the EuVECA and EuSEF regulations is a useful step, but that it is not the only necessary measure. As well as improving these regulations, further steps are needed to create a more dynamic investment culture that is oriented towards all business forms currently present on the market. The Opinion recommends various ways to achieve this objective such as the establishment of ‘funds of funds’ i.e. guarantee funds supported by public money and managed at European level to support investment in businesses and institutions with a strong social dimension.

European Payments Council publishes the March 2017 newsletter

The newsletter focused on the implementation of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) with articles about Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and the final draft Regulatory Technical Standards on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication under PSD2. The newsletter also provided external contributions on the topics of small and medium-sized banks that have already successfully put instant payments into operation, America's ongoing migration to EMV chip technology and the growth in mobile and contactless payments and Austrian payment trends.

European Securities and Markets Authority publishes its Stakeholder Group Renewal Procedure 2016

This document lays down the procedure for selection of the members of the ESMA Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group whose purpose is to help facilitate consultation with stakeholders in areas relevant to the tasks of ESMA.

European Securities and Markets Authority publishes call for expression of interest

The call concerns two positions in the ESMA Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group in in category of users of financial services. The closing date for applications is 19 April 2017.

International Organization of Securities Commissions publishes a Report titled Examination of Liquidity of the Secondary Corporate Bond Markets

The Report found no substantial evidence showing that liquidity in the secondary corporate bond markets between 2004 and 2015 has deteriorated markedly from historic norms for non-crisis periods.

Vienna Initiative agrees to establish a Working Group on Capital Markets Union

The new Working Group, which will report by the end of 2017, will help to promote the diversification of investment finance in the Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe region.

European Payments Council publishes minutes of the first meeting of the ad-hoc multi-stakeholder group on mobile contactless SEPA card payments

The minutes state that the main purpose of the multi-stakeholder group is the update of the Mobile contactless SEPA card payments interoperability implementation guidelines. The meeting involved a discussion of the mandate of the multi-stakeholder group, a presentation on the current guidelines, a presentation by EMVCo, a review of the status of recommendations approved during the ERPB meeting, a brainstorm on updates needed to the guidelines and a discussion of the next steps to be taken.

European Payments Council publishes EPC Newsletter - Issue 33

The Newsletter contained articles on how application programming interface standardisation can be achieved in the context of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), the European Banking Authority´s final draft RTS on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication, registration under SEPA's Instant Credit Transfer scheme, instant payments and harmonised electronic invoice presentment and payment services. The Newsletter also profiles the US and Austrian payment landscape.

European Banking Authority hosts Joint Colloquium with IMF on stress testing

The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the different aspects of stress testing ranging from the latest methodologies and frameworks for the implementation of liquidity stress tests to macroeconomic variables, capital planning and governance.

European Payments Council publishes version 8.0 of the SEPA Cards Standardisation Volume

The Volume contains guidelines on cards standardisation for the cards industry. The new version has been updated to contain guidelines to facilitate the implementation of some aspects of the Interchange Fee Regulation.

Vice-President of the Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, attends the Structured Dialogue with the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

Vice-President Dombrovskis speech focused on the Commission's work to make Europe's financial sector stronger and more dynamic; their proposals to complete the framework for the banking sector; and their approach to the second phase of the Capital Markets Union project.

The Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties committees of the European Parliament agree amendments to the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive

The amendments would enable EU citizens to access registers of beneficial owners of companies without having to demonstrate a “legitimate interest,” and would require trusts to meet the same transparency requirements as firms. The European Parliament as a whole must now give the go-ahead in the March plenary session for MEPs to start three-way talks with the EU Commission and Council.

Summary of the Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Commission Proposal amending the 4th and 5th Anti Money Laundering Directives is published

The Summary of the Opinion relates to access to beneficial ownership information and data protection implications. The European Data Protection Supervisor concluded that the Proposal should ensure that any processing of personal data serve a legitimate purpose; any limitations on the right to privacy should be subject to the principle of necessity; that there must be a proper assessment of proportionality (emergency-based measures that are acceptable to tackle the risk of terrorist attacks might result excessive when applied to prevent the risk of tax evasion); there should be safeguards to guarantee a certain degree of proportionality (for example, in setting the conditions for access to information on financial transactions by FIUs); and access to beneficial ownership information must be in compliance with the principle of proportionality, inter alia, ensuring access only to entities who are in charge of enforcing the law.

European Mortgage Federation-European Covered Bond Council responds to the European Commission Public Consultation on the Capital Markets Union (CMU) Mid-Term Review 2017

The EMF-ECBC commented that that the lower risk of energy efficient mortgages, should be recognised in the regulatory framework in the form of lower capital requirements for these exposures and reiterated their proposal of designing a possible new funding instrument, the European Secured Note, for SME funding.

European Securities and Markets Authority publishes tables of compliance with MAR Guidelines for persons receiving market soundings and MAR Guidelines on delay in the disclosure of inside information

The table details Member States, EEA/EFTA States and European Territories who comply or intend to comply by the date specified with MAR Guidelines for persons receiving market soundings and MAR Guidelines on delay in the disclosure of inside information.

European Commission publishes Shareholders' rights directive Q&A

The Q&A addresses issues such as why the Commission revised the Shareholders' rights directive, the main changes made, what is the “say on pay”, how the rules increase the level and quality of engagement by institutional investors and asset managers and who the new rules apply to.

European Payments Council publishes version 5.0 of its White paper on mobile payments

This new version has been aligned with the latest version of the SEPA Cards Standardisation Volume, recently published by the European Cards Stakeholders Group. It contains various updates in different sections in view of the changed mobile payment ecosystems and the introduction of new technologies over the recent years.

FATF Private Sector Consultative Forum, held its annual Private Sector Consultative Forum on 20-22 March 2017

The Forum allows FATF and its members to engage directly with the private sector on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CFT) issues. The FATF sought feedback from the private sector representatives on information sharing, correspondent banking, financial inclusion, remittances and de-risking, terrorist financing, beneficial ownership and engaging non-profit organisations.

European Securities and Markets Authority publishes two sets of guidelines under the Central Securities Depositories Regulation

The Guidelines concern access by a CSD to the transaction feeds of a central counterparty (CCP) or of a trading venue; and CSD participant default rules and procedures. The guidelines will apply two months after their publication on ESMA’s website in all official languages of the EU.

European Securities and Markets Authority publishes guidelines on the validation and review of Credit Rating Agencies’ methodologies under the Credit Rating Agencies Regulation

The Guidelines clarify ESMA’s expectations in relation to Article 8(3) of the CRA Regulation which states that ‘a credit rating agency shall use rating methodologies that are rigorous, systematic, continuous and subject to validation based on historical experience, including back testing’. The Guidelines also clarify ESMA’s expectations and ensure consistent application of Article 8(5) of the CRA Regulation which states, inter alia, that a CRA shall ‘review its credit ratings and methodologies on an ongoing basis and at least annually’.

European Commission publishes an Action Plan titled 'Consumer Financial Services Action Plan: Better products and more choice for European consumers'

The Action Plan sets out ways to provide consumers with a technology-enabled Single Market for retail financial services. The Commission has identified increasing consumer trust, reducing legal and regulatory obstacles affecting businesses and supporting the development of an innovative digital world as its three main action points in the creation of a Single Market for financial services.

Vice-President of the Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis speaks about the Action Plan on Consumer Financial Services

The speech on 23 March 2017, concerned the adoption of the Commission of the Action Plan on Consumer Financial Services. Vice-President Dombrovskis explained the key work stands contained within the plan and concluded that while today markets for consumer financial services are largely domestic, not European, the Action Plan for Consumer Financial Services aims to change this – for the good of both consumers and of companies.

Commission publishes a memorandum on titled 'Consumer Financial Services Action Plan: Better Products, More Choice, Greater Opportunities'

The document outlined the scope and ambition of the plan, how the plan will help consumers, what the plan does for providers of financial services and the role of FinTech.

European Payments Council publishes the Payment Threats Trends Report

The Report outlines the latest developments on threats affecting payments, including cybercrime. The first section analyses threats which are encountered nowadays in payment contexts and are causing fraud. The second section includes early warnings on threats related to emerging technologies which could lead to potential fraud in payment contexts.

Sharon Donnery, Deputy Governor (Central Banking) at the Central Bank speaks on ‘Brexit and Global Capital Markets’

The speech, at Chatham House on 23 March 2017, covered the history of centers of capital, what Brexit may mean for the ‘City of London’ as a global market for capital and some of the potential macroeconomic implications of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, for both the UK and Irish economies, and for Ireland as a location for financial services.

Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom addresses the plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions

Mr. Barnier emphasised the need for unity, the need to remove uncertainty created by the UK's decision to leave the European Union, the importance of member states honoring commitments towards one another and the importance of maintaining peace in Northern Ireland.

Elke König, Chair of the Single Resolution Board gives speech on resolution issues

Ms. König speech addressed the SRB's approach to the Minimum Requirement for own funds and Eligible Liabilities, the Banking Union, the Single Resolution Fund and the Commission's proposed implementation of the international TLACstandard as Pillar 1 MREL, with additional MREL being a Pillar 2 requirement.

European Payments Council interviews José M Beltrán of STET for the European Payments Council Blog

José M Beltrán, Director of Business Development at STET, one of the leading European clearing and settlement systems answered questions in relation to the factors needed to make SEPA Instant Credit Transfer (SCT Inst) a success from a clearing and settlement perspective, the key features of STET’s instant payment CSM, the impact SCT Inst may have on the European CSM industry and how SCT Inst might evolve in future.

Commission launches Consultation on the operations of the European Supervisory Authorities

The Consultation is seeking views on possible changes to the European Supervisory Authorities current framework of operation, particularly in relation to the effectiveness of the ESAs' current governance structure and funding framework, the importance of clarifying and strengthening their tasks and powers, and the possible need to reconsider the supervisory architecture also in light of the new challenges to financial integration. The Consultation closes on 16 May 2017.

Benoît Cœuré, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank gives a speech titled 'Setting standards for granular data'

The speech which was given at the joint workshop on "Setting Global Standards for Granular Data”, organised by the US Office of Financial Research (OFR), the Bank of England and the ECB, gave an overview of why authorities and the industry need high-quality granular data and why data should be based on global standards as well as addressing the areas where progress has been achieved and the challenges still faced.

Covered Bond Label Foundation announces that the new voluntary addendum to the Harmonised Transparency Template (HTT) is now online

The voluntary addendum, together with the increased granularity for extendable maturities now displayed on the Covered Bond Label website, is intended to align the Label’s reporting process with the European Central Bank’s (ECB) new minimum disclosure requirements for covered bond ratings, which will be effective from Q3 2017 onwards.

European Parliament publishes document titled 'Article 50: how the future of EU-UK relations will be decided'

The document set out what the withdrawal agreement will cover, what the agreement on the future framework could cover, how the negotiations will work, what happens if there is no agreement and the role of the Parliament.