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Irish Central Bank offers transparency to financial firms submitting authorisation applications

The Central Bank of Ireland has published its first Authorisations and Gatekeeping Report, providing welcome transparency to help financial firms plan and manage expectations when submitting authorising applications, an expert has said.

The report (39 pages / 360 KB) provides a comprehensive overview of the Central Bank’s approach to authorising regulated entities and its role as a ‘gatekeeper’ to the Irish and European financial markets. This is the first edition of what will be an annual report which will provide information regarding the Central Bank’s approach to authorisation of regulated firms in Ireland.

Lisa Carty, financial services expert at Pinsent Masons, said: “The annual Authorisations and Gatekeeping Report is a sign that the Central Bank has taken on board feedback from firms, and that it wants to be clearer and more transparent in its communications and expectations in order to enhance the authorisation process for firms.”

The report outlines the types of authorisations granted by the Central Bank, the sectors involved, and the trends observed in the authorisation process. A significant portion of the report is dedicated to the Central Bank’s fitness and probity regime. This regime ensures that individuals in important positions within regulated firms meet high standards of competence and integrity. The report includes data on the number of applications processed, the timelines for approval, and common challenges faced by firms during the authorisation process.

The report emphasises the importance of early engagement with the Central Bank when submitting authorisation applications, and also focuses on the post-authorisation expectations and ongoing compliance. It identifies several common challenges faced by firms seeking authorisation. These include the complexity of the application process, the need for comprehensive and high-quality submissions, and the importance of timely responses to any Central Bank queries.

To address these challenges, the Central Bank has implemented several improvements, including clearer communication of expectations, updated guidance materials, and enhanced engagement with industry stakeholders.

“This is particularly interesting and helpful for firms as it provides statistics regarding the timelines for authorisation applications to be reviewed and granted or refused,” said Carty.

The report notes that the Central Bank takes a risk-based and proportionate approach to authorisations as part of its gatekeeping role, reflecting the nature, scale, and complexity of the applicant’s business model. This approach aims to ensure that only firms and individuals who meet the highest standards are allowed to operate in the Irish financial market.

The Central Bank also confirmed that the independent review of the fitness and probity approval process, which was commissioned by the Central Bank in March, is ongoing. It is expected to publish the outcome and its findings this summer.

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