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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 3 Dec 1998

Vol. 497 No. 7

Written Answers - Financial Services Regulation.


42 Dr. Upton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when the financial services authority Bill will be available to Opposition spokespersons and Dáil Éireann. [26115/98]

The Government agreed in principle on 20 October 1998 to the establishment of a financial services regulatory authority at the earliest date possible and agreed to the immediate establishment of an implementation group to progress the necessary work. The implementation group is to advise the Government on: (a) the role and functions of the financial services regulatory authority — namely — prudential supervision, the maintenance of orderly markets, safeguarding of clients funds, consumer protection, the development and regulation of conduct of business rules — including consideration of the issues arising from combining the functions of monetary policy and prudential regulation; (b) the range of financial service providers to be overseen by the authority — namely, banks, building societies, the Post Office Savings Bank, insurance companies and brokers, investment intermediaries — including lawyers and accountants in as much as they handle clients funds — exchanges, credit unions, friendly societies, finance companies, moneylenders etc. — also taking account of the development of electronic commerce which may involve new types of service providers; (c) the extent to which, if any, existing regulators — namely, the Director of Consumer Affairs, the Registrar of Friendly Societies, the Central Bank and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment — would continue to have functions in relation to the regulation of the financial services sector and the extent to which any alteration to the status quo would impinge on the non-regulatory functions of the Central Bank; (d) the organisational structure for the authority including the manner of its public accountability; (e) the funding, resourcing and staffing of the authority — and issues arising in a transition to a new structure, including staffing and industrial relations, and the extent to which the authority could be self-financing; (f) the legislative changes necessary for the establishment of the authority; and (g) the time schedule — including, in so far as necessary, a phased implementation for achieving the objective of a fully operational financial services regulatory authority at the earliest date possible.

The implementation group, consisting of nine members in all, under the Chairmanship of Michael McDowell SC, is to report jointly to me and to the Minister for Finance by end February, 1999. The questions of what legislation, if any, will be necessary and what form any financial services regulatory authority which might emerge would take will be addressed at that time in the context of the group's report. In the circumstances, the Deputy will appreciate that I am not in a position to say at present when legislation will be made available to members of the House.