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Irish Financial Services Bill 2003 Gives Regulator Wide Mandate

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

11 December 2003


Completing the reform of Ireland’s financial regulatory system as recommended in the 1999 McDowell report, the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Bill 2003 was published on Tuesday, having already been presented to the Dail by Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy.

An Act established the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority earlier this year, and the present bill will give the Authority a wide mandate to oversee the financial services sector, including the protection of consumers.

The bill provides for:

- A statutory Financial Services Ombudsman to deal with complaints against financial institutions

- Consumer and Industry Consultative Panels to advise the Regulatory Authority

- New reporting and auditing obligations for financial institutions as recommended in the Report of the Review Group on Auditing

- Power for the Regulatory Authority to impose sanctions directly on financial institutions for failure to comply with regulatory requirements, subject to a right of appeal to the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal

- A right of appeal to the Appeals Tribunal in relation to certain supervisory decisions of the Authority

- New regulatory requirements for money transmission and bureau de change businesses to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism and

- Miscellaneous other amendments to financial services legislation

The McDowell report recommended removing the regulatory function from the Central Bank and establishing a separate regulatory body. At the time, the Department of Finance lodged its opposition to the idea, arguing that the Central Bank must maintain its powers and in fact be given more duties, particularly in connection with the rules for protecting customers.

The full text of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Bill can be found in the Tax News Resources Section.

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