Since 2011, the Government has enacted a broad range of primary and secondary legislation to address issues that arose prior to 2008, to provide more consumer protection and to ensure greater oversight, stability and sustainability of the Irish financial services sector.
The regulatory landscape has been utterly overhauled since the financial crisis, with:
- the Central Bank Reform Act 2010;
- the Central Bank Supervision and Enforcement Act 2013;
- the creation of the European Single Supervisory Mechanism in 2014
- the Consumer Protection (Regulation of Credit Servicing Firms) Act 2018.
These, among other legal and regulatory changes have significantly changed the regulation and supervision of the financial sector.
The Central Bank of Ireland is acknowledged now as being one of the most robust and challenging financial regulatory institutions in Europe.
Additionally, like a number of other countries, we are advancing national legislative change to improve culture within the financial services sector.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government includes a commitment to introduce a Senior Executive Accountability Regime (SEAR). SEAR will drive positive changes in terms of culture, greater delegation of responsibilities, and enhanced accountability while simplifying the taking of sanctions against individuals who fail in their financial sector roles.
My officials are engaging with the Attorney General's Office in advance of submitting draft heads of Bill to Government so as to ensure that the correct balance is struck between appropriate additional powers for the Central Bank and the protection of individuals' constitutional rights.
It is my hope that the Heads of Bill can be published in July. This, however, will be subject to the Attorney General’s advice on the adequacy of the safeguards included to protect the constitutional rights at stake.