Central Bank Refers Administrative Sanctions Procedure Case to Inquiry in Respect of a Person Formerly Concerned in the Management of permanent tsb plc.

10 November 2021 Press Release

Central Bank of Ireland

Following an investigation conducted by the Central Bank of Ireland under its Administrative Sanctions Procedure (ASP) (pursuant to Part IIIC of the Central Bank Act 1942 (as amended) (the Act)), the Central Bank has determined that it has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person formerly concerned in the management of permanent tsb plc (PTSB) participated in the commission of a suspected prescribed contravention of Chapter 1, General Principle 1 of the Consumer Protection Code 2006 by PTSB.

In accordance with Part IIIC of the Act, an Inquiry will be held by the Central Bank to establish whether the person concerned in the management of PTSB participated in the suspected commission of the above mentioned prescribed contravention.

An Inquiry is a statutory ASP mechanism by which the Central Bank can assess suspected breaches, make relevant determinations and, where relevant, impose sanctions.  An Inquiry is comprised of one or more impartial decision-maker(s) appointed by the Central Bank, with no prior involvement in the subject matter of the Inquiry or supervision or authorisation of the regulated entity, known as the Inquiry Member(s).

Part IIIC of the Act sets out the overall framework for how ASP Inquiries are to be carried out. The Central Bank has also prescribed Inquiry Guidelines which set out the general procedure which the Central Bank ordinarily proposes to follow at an ASP Inquiry.

Mr Peter Hinchliffe has been appointed as the Inquiry Member for this Inquiry.

In accordance with the Central Bank’s Inquiry Guidelines, Mr Hinchliffe will determine how the Inquiry will proceed and the procedures that are to be followed.

Any preliminary issues will be dealt with by way of inquiry management meetings and thereafter Mr. Hinchliffe will set any hearing dates for the Inquiry.

Updates on this Inquiry can be found on the Central Bank’s website.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Central Bank Investigation into PTSB

A related investigation into PTSB under the ASP, arising from the Central Bank’s Tracker Mortgage Examination, was concluded by way of settlement agreement on 30 May 2019.  The settlement concluded the investigation against PTSB.

Administrative Sanctions Procedure Inquiry

Where a concern arises that a prescribed contravention has been or is being committed, the Central Bank may investigate.  This involves the gathering and interrogation of information, witness interviews (where necessary) and the assessment of evidence against regulatory requirements. Following an investigation, the Central Bank may decide to:

  1. Take no further action;
  2. Issue a Supervisory Warning;
  3. Resolve the matter by taking supervisory action;
  4. Agree a settlement imposing sanctions; or
  5. Refer the case to Inquiry for determination and, where relevant, sanction.

The ASP provides that, any time before the conclusion of an Inquiry, the matter may be resolved by entering into a settlement agreement. This is a written agreement which binds the Central Bank and the firm or individual. There are cases, however, that will not be suitable for settlement, and firms or individuals subject to the ASP who will not make the admissions or agree the sanctions that the Central Bank considers necessary to form the basis of settlement.  Such cases are referred to Inquiry for determination.

An Inquiry may be held where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a prescribed contravention(s) has been or is being committed. The purpose of the Inquiry is to (i) determine if the regulated financial service provider has committed the prescribed contravention(s) and, where relevant, determine if a person(s) concerned in the management of the regulated financial service provider participated in the commission of the prescribed contravention(s) and (ii) where relevant, determine the appropriate sanctions. Notwithstanding a prior settlement with a regulated financial service provider, an Inquiry in respect of a person(s) concerned in the management of a regulated financial service provider is still required to determine if the regulated financial service provider has committed the relevant prescribed contravention(s).

Prescribed contravention

A prescribed contravention could be a breach of:

  • a provision in legislation;
  • a code, or a direction, given pursuant to legislation;
  • a condition or requirement imposed under legislation, a code or direction; or
  • any obligation imposed on any person by the legislation governing the ASP Inquiry process (i.e. Part IIIC of the Act) or

imposed by the Central Bank under that legislation.

Regulatory Decisions Panel

The Inquiry Member has been drawn from the Regulatory Decisions Panel of independent evidence-based decision makers who have had no previous involvement with the investigation. For more information in respect of the Regulatory Decisions Panel, please refer to the Central Bank website.

Mr Peter Hinchliffe has been appointed as the Inquiry Member for this Inquiry.

Peter Hinchliffe is a barrister with significant experience of making independent decisions in a legal or regulatory environment. He sits as a tribunal judge in the General Regulatory Chamber and in other jurisdictions in England, and N. Ireland.  In the UK he is a member of the Enforcement Decisions Panel of the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) and a Panel Chair for the Access Disputes Committee. He has previously held independent decision-making roles in the financial services sector as Deputy Chair of the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the Financial Conduct Authority and in similar roles with the Pensions Regulator and the UK Treasury and as Lead Ombudsman for insurance at the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Peter has also held non-executive and decision-making roles with regulators in the auditing, telecoms and legal services sectors. He is chair of the Behavioural Insights Trustee Company and an experienced non-executive director and charity trustee. Prior to that Peter has spoken and written extensively on consumer law issues in the EU and held senior management positions in the technology and charity sectors.

Further information in relation to the ASP can be found in the Central Bank’s 2018 Outline of the Administrative Sanctions Procedure.

Further information in relation to the Inquiry process and Inquiries to date can be found in the Central Bank’s 2014 Inquiry Guidelines and on the Central Bank’s website.

Information on the establishment of the Inquiry process is also included in the Central Bank’s Annual Report 2020 and Annual Performance Statement 2020 – 2021.