The Central Bank seeks to operate an assertive risk-based approach to supervision which is supported by credible threats of enforcement. Its strategies are aimed at promoting principled and ethical behaviour in regulated entities and those that work in such entities. It will take appropriate action where the entities or individuals fall short of the expected standards of behaviour.
The enforcement division liaises closely with the supervisory division and advises on appropriate outcomes such as consumer redress schemes and takes necessary measures including enforcement actions where required.
The enforcement division is comprised of several multidisciplinary teams and adopts an inclusive approach to investigations placing an emphasis on pursuing individual accountability routinely undertaking data mining and conducting forensic interviews as part of the investigative process.
The enforcement tools employed include
- administrative sanctions
- fitness and probity investigations
- refusals and revocation of authorisations
- cancellation and refusal of registration
- summary criminal prosecution
- supervisory warning
- issuance of a directive
- the imposition of a condition
- reports to other agencies including Gardai, Revenue Commissioners, and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
Funds collected from monetary penalties are part of the Central Bank surplus income which may be paid directly to the Exchequer.
Breaches of financial services regulation have consequences in terms of civil liability to consumers under the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman regime and to administrative and criminal sanctions applied by the Central Bank in its capacity as the policing authority of the financial services industry.
The administrative sanctions procedure allows for the application of sanctions in respect of prescribed contraventions both of the law and of the specific and more general obligations in the various codes of conduct. The Central Bank may settle a complaint or investigation on the basis of binding sanctions on the provider.
There is provision for enquiries and due procedure in contested cases. There is provision for an appeal to the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal. There is the possibility of a further appeal on a point of law to the High Court.
Sanctions imposed range from
- caution or reprimand
- directions for repayment or for provision of a service
- direction to pay the Central Bank penalty up to €10,000,000 or 10 percent of turnover (corporate entity) €1 million personal provider
- suspension revocation of authorisation
- disqualification of individuals
- directions to cease contravention
- directions to pay costs
The Central Bank has published guidelines in relation to its administrative sanctions procedure and its enquiry guidelines in that context.
As part of its principles of integrity and transparency, public statements are issued at the conclusion of enforcement actions to serve to inform and advise the financial sector and consumers of expected standards and behaviour. Public notices regarding enforcement actions and published on the website. Disqualification notices, suspension notices, and prohibition notices are published
Enforcement also requires regulated entities to put in place redress schemes to compensate consumers for loss suffered as a result of actions of such entities.