Central Bank Publishes Enforcement Priorities in 2014 

Information release 25 February 2014

The Central Bank of Ireland today (25 February 2014) published its enforcement priorities for 2014 highlighting the importance of enforcement within its risk-based regulatory framework.

During 2013, the Central Bank entered into 16 enforcement settlements with regulated entities, with fines totalling €6,348,215 being imposed.  All of the actions taken during 2013 related to one or more of the priority areas highlighted at the outset of the year.  In 2014, the Central Bank aims to build upon the work carried out in these priority areas.

Director of Enforcement, Derville Rowland, said: ‘This is the fourth year that the Central Bank has published a list of enforcement priorities highlighting areas of significant importance to it.

We have again worked closely with our supervisory divisions to prioritise the areas of greatest concern to them and for the first time we are publishing our priorities by industry sector.  Certain priority areas are identified year on year, across almost all industry sectors.  We have highlighted why these areas are consistently a priority for the Central Bank to ensure that the focus of our enforcement resources will help promote compliance in the areas that are of greatest importance to the Central Bank.

Since 1 August 2013, the administrative sanctions procedure is fully applicable to credit unions so enforcement priority areas for that sector have also been identified for the first time.'

Enforcement priority areas for 2014:

Banking & Insurance

  • Prudential requirements
  • Systems & controls


  • Prudential requirements (with a focus on large exposures)
  • MiFID conduct of business rules
  • Client Asset Requirements
  • Timeliness and accuracy of information submitted to the Central Bank
  • Systems & controls

Credit Unions

  • Prudential requirements (with a focus on reserves, liquidity, lending & investments)
  • Timeliness and accuracy of information submitted to the Central Bank
  • Systems & controls
  • Governance

Consumer Protection

  • Code of Conduct for Mortgage Arrears
  • Prudential requirements for retail intermediaries and debt management firms
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Firms which fail to engage appropriately with the Central Bank

All Sectors

  • Fitness and probity obligations of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010
  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter Terrorism Financing (CTF) compliance

Continuing priority areas

There is a continuing enforcement focus on certain areas across almost all industry sectors, most notably, prudential requirements and systems and controls. As well as being consistently highlighted as enforcement priority areas, a large proportion of the settlements reached by the Central Bank concern breaches of requirements in these areas.

The Central Bank is tasked with the statutory objective of ensuring the proper and effective regulation of financial service providers and the markets within which they operate. Compliance with key prudential requirements is of paramount importance in ensuring the financial soundness of regulated financial service providers.  Breaches of these requirements are viewed as unacceptable as they constitute a significant threat to the customers and creditors of regulated financial service providers and the markets in which they operate.

In addition, the Central Bank views the existence and proper functioning of a firm’s systems and controls as being fundamental to ensuring its compliance with its regulatory requirements.  The existence of inadequate systems and controls, incomplete procedures and/or a failure to employ effective resources is an unacceptable risk to the Central Bank as it can be the basis for and indeed potentially leads to large scale detriment to consumers.

Industry can expect that the Central Bank will maintain our enforcement focus in these areas, in addition to the other priority areas identified.

‘Reactive’ cases

Enforcement actions do not relate solely to these ‘pre-defined’ enforcement priorities.  We have made provision in the allocation of our resources to allow us to react to serious issues identified through day-to-day supervisory work and from other information sources e.g. whistleblowing.

Low impact firms

Resources have also been specifically allocated to enforcement actions for firms with a low impact PRISM rating. Smaller firms will have lesser engagement with the Central Bank.  For that reason, where breaches by small firms are discovered, we will use enforcement as a reminder that the regulatory rule book is mandatory, and non-compliance is regarded as serious.  This approach promotes compliance through deterrence and complements the PRISM framework.


Further information: Press Office (01) 224 6299, press@centralbank.ie

Notes for editors

MiFID Regulations: the European Communities (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations, SI 60/2007

PRISM: The Central Bank’s risk-based regulatory framework, PRISM, is squarely focused on the Central Bank being more assertive and prioritising the allocation of resources to areas where we believe the greatest risks lie.