Enforcement Action: Central Bank issues Prohibition Notice to Mr. James Cumiskey under the Fitness and Probity Regime

25 May 2021 Press Release

Central Bank of Ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland (the “Central Bank”) has prohibited Mr James Cumiskey, former Managing Director of European Mortgage Call Centre Limited, 34-35 Park Street, Dundalk, County Louth from carrying out any controlled function, including pre-approval controlled function, in any regulated financial service provider, from 16 July 2020, for an indefinite period.

The prohibition arises from the Central Bank’s investigation into Mr. Cumiskey. This investigation established that between January 2018 and August 2018  Mr Cumiskey induced persons to give him deposits they had saved for a mortgage on the basis that Mr. Cumiskey required the deposit to process mortgage applications on their behalf. Although neither Mr Cumiskey nor his firm (European Mortgage Call Centre Limited) were authorised as a mortgage intermediary the firm’s website prominently advertised mortgage services.

When the Central Bank was alerted in January 2019, it took immediate steps to suspend Mr. Cumiskey from performing any controlled function. The High Court extended this suspension on 13 May 2019. The Central Bank’s investigation also found that Mr. Cumiskey had outstanding debts and was not managing his own financial affairs in a sound and prudent manner as required by the Fitness and Probity Standards, which all controlled function holders must adhere to.

Seána Cunningham, Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering, said “The Central Bank’s Fitness and Probity Regime works to ensure that persons holding key and customer facing positions in financial services are committed to high standards of competence, integrity and honesty. The regime sets out the fitness and probity standards that people holding these positions must comply with.

"When the Central Bank is investigating a person’s fitness and probity and considers, at any point, that there is a significant need to protect the users of financial services and financial stability, it has the power to issue a suspension notice. This is an important power, which can be used by the Central Bank in seeking to protect consumers from potential harm.

"The prohibition of persons from holding key functions in regulated firms where they fail to meet the required standards of fitness and probity upholds public trust and confidence in the financial system.  The Central Bank continues to highlight to financial services firms, and to those holding key positions in these firms, the importance of meeting the requirements and standards under the Fitness and Probity Regime.”

Additional information

  1. The Prohibition Notice was effective from 16 July 2020 and is issued for an indefinite period. This is the ninth prohibition notice issued by the Central Bank pursuant to the Fitness and Probity Regime.
  2. As is the practice of the Central Bank no further information can be provided whilst a current Garda Síochána investigation is in being.
  3. The Fitness and Probity Regime was introduced by the Central Bank under the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 to ensure that regulated firms and individuals who work in these firms are committed to high standards of competence, integrity and honesty and are held to account when they fall below these standards.
  4. The Central Bank acts as a gatekeeper to certain senior roles called “pre-approval controlled functions” or “PCFs” and it may assess the fitness and probity of the individuals proposed for these roles. Firms may not appoint individuals to these roles without the Central Bank’s approval in writing. We may also investigate individuals in key roles, namely those performing “controlled functions” including PCFs, if we suspect their fitness and probity to perform their role and we may prohibit them if appropriate.
  5. The Fitness and Probity regime also imposes significant obligations on Firms. The Central Bank issued letters to all regulated firms on 8 April 2019 and 17 November 2020, reminding them of their compliance obligations under the Fitness and Probity Regime. The first letter, highlighted areas where we have detected compliance to be lacking. The most recent letter was issued following thematic inspections of firms which revealed common issues and shortcomings in their implementation of the Fitness and Probity Regime and set out our expectations for firms to take appropriate action to address the significant issues identified.  We have taken enforcement action against firms, leading to monetary penalties, for failing to have proper systems and controls in compliance with the Fitness and Probity Regime.
  6. View further detail on the Fitness and Probity Regime, including the Fitness and Probity Standards.