Introduction- Unauthorised Investment Firms  

Introduction – Unauthorised Firms  

All firms which hold an authorisation from the Central Bank of Ireland (‘Central Bank’) to provide financial services in Ireland are shown in our Registers section.  Prior to entering into a financial services transaction, members of the public and shareholders should always check the regulatory status of the firm.

Please note that some firms based in the European Economic Area may be regulated in their Home State and may be authorised to provide services in Ireland under Passporting arrangements. Please contact the Central Bank to check the regulatory status of such a firm. Tel: 00353 1 224 4000.

Consequences of Dealing with Unauthorised Firms

Consumers should be aware that if they deal with a firm which is not authorised by the Central Bank, they are not eligible for compensation from statutory compensation schemes and they will not have access to the Financial Services Ombudsman. Furthermore, the Central Bank cannot initiate an Administrative Sanctions Procedure against a firm which does not hold an authorisation.

Publication of warning notices in relation to firms who are providing a financial service without the appropriate authorisation

Under the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013, the Central Bank has the authority to publish warning notices naming persons or firms who are providing financial services without the appropriate authorisation to do so or who are holding themselves out to be a regulated financial service provider where they do not have the appropriate authorisation to provide the financial services they are holding themselves out as providing.  A list of unauthorised firms in respect of whom warning notices have been published by the Central Bank to date is available at List/Search Unauthorised Firms.

Please note that prior to the enactment of the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013, the Central Bank only had the authority to publish warning notices in relation to unauthorised investment firms (under the European Communities (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations 2007, S.I. No. 60 of 2007)] and unauthorised investment business firms (under the Investment Intermediaries Act 1995) and, as such, any warnings featured on the list prior to 1st August 2013, relate to warnings issued in relation to unauthorised investment firms or investment business firms only.

If you are contacted by a firm and offered financial services, you should first check the Central Bank’s Registers to see if the firm holds an authorisation from the Central Bank.  If you cannot find the firm you are looking for, you should check the List/Search Unauthorised Firms  to see if a warning notice has been issued in relation to that firm.  If you cannot find the name of the firm you are looking for in the unauthorised firms list, do not assume that the firm you are dealing with (intend to deal with) is legitimate – it may be the case that a warning notice has not yet been issued by the Central Bank in relation to that firm or that the firm has not come to the attention of the Central Bank previously.  

However, consumers should be aware that not all firms that provide a financial service to consumers require an authorisation from the Central Bank.  A list of financial service sectors that are required to hold an authorisation from the Central Bank can be found here

If you have been approached about an investment scam - or think you are a victim - report it to the Central Bank by completing the form at Report/Query an Unauthorised Firm