Enforcement Action: Prohibition Notice issued to Mr Michael Kearns under the Fitness and Probity Regime

27 September 2019 Press Release

Central Bank of Ireland

The Central Bank has today published a Prohibition Notice prohibiting Mr. Michael Kearns from performing any controlled function in all regulated financial service providers for a period of two years. Mr. Kearns acted as an Executive Director of Home Credit Ireland Limited, which is authorised as a Moneylender under the Consumer Credit Act 1995 (as amended). Mr. Kearns failed to properly disclose to the Central Bank the circumstances under which his former employment had ceased when he made an application for a pre-approval controlled function (PCF) position in Home Credit Ireland Limited.

Seana Cunningham, Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering said: "Under the Central Bank’s Fitness and Probity regime approval is required before an individual can be appointed to a senior position in financial services. This gatekeeper role allows the Central Bank to assess the fitness and probity of applicants for senior positions."

"The Central Bank, in the performance of this gatekeeper role, is entitled to expect and insist on absolute candour and honesty from applicants. Full disclosure at application stage is required in order that the Central Bank can properly assess the fitness and probity of individuals before they are approved."

"Consequently, the provision of false or misleading information to the Central Bank may lead to the most serious of consequences – either denial of approval, or, if approval has previously been granted, as it was in this case, prohibition from financial services."

Additional information

  1. The Prohibition Notice was effective from 2 May 2019. This is the seventh prohibition notice since the commencement of the Fitness and Probity regime and the second that the Central Bank has published in full, the first decision, which was published earlier this year can be found here.
  2. The Fitness and Probity Regime was introduced by the Central Bank under the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 to ensure that individuals working in regulated firms meet high standards of competence, integrity and honesty. The regime gave the Central Bank a gatekeeper role in approving or refusing individuals for senior roles in regulated firms. The regime also allows the Central Bank to investigate approved individuals where we suspect that they no longer meet the requirements of the Fitness and Probity Standards.
  3. The Fitness and Probity regime also imposes significant obligations on Firms and a recent letter to the CEOs of all regulated firms reminded firms of their obligations. A copy of this letter can be found here.
  4. Further detail on the Fitness and Probity Regime, including the Fitness and Probity Standards, can be found here.