Introduction to Enforcement

A successful regulatory model is composed of a number of interlocking components, namely regulation (the rules), on-going supervision and enforcement. All components must interact with each other to ensure effective financial system governance.

  • Regulation: Legislative Rules, Codes, Standards Underpinning Supervision and Enforcement
  • Supervision: Risk-Based, Assertive Inspection and Supervision of Regulated Entities
  • Enforcement: Gatekeeping, Investigation and Enforcement Regime and Administrative Sanctions

The Central Bank operates an assertive risk based approach to supervision which is supported by a credible threat of enforcement. The Central Bank’s enforcement strategy is aimed at promoting principled and ethical behaviour in regulated entities and those that work in such entities. The Central Bank will take appropriate action where regulated entities and/or individuals fall short of those expected standards of behaviour.

The Enforcement division liaises closely with the Central Bank’s supervisory divisions and advises on appropriate outcomes such as consumer redress schemes and takes necessary measures, including enforcement action, where required.

The Enforcement division consists of several multi-disciplinary teams and adopts an intrusive approach to investigations, placing an emphasis on pursuing individual accountability, routinely undertaking data mining and conducting forensic interviews as part of the investigative process.

Enforcement deals with issues identified, amongst other things, during the normal course of work undertaken by a supervisory division or as a result of an on-site inspection at a regulated firm or a themed inspection across a particular sector.

Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM)

Since 4 November 2014, the European Central Bank (the “ECB”) has directly supervised significant credit institutions within Ireland. As a result, the ECB can take direct enforcement and sanctions proceedings against significant institutions. The ECB can also instruct the Central Bank to use its supervisory powers or to open proceedings against significant institutions operating in Ireland.

The ECB publishes on its website a report on sanctioning activity across the SSM which is based on the collation of data on sanctioning activity from the national competent authorities of participating member states. Please view link to the ECB’s most recent report on sanctioning activity which is the ECB's 2022 report on SSM sanctioning activity as well as link to the ECB's 2020 and 2021 reports on SSM sanctioning activity.

Enforcement Tools

Enforcement uses a wide range of tools to take action against regulated entities and/or individuals which fall short of our expected standards of behaviour including:

Enforcement Outcomes

Funds collected from monetary penalties imposed under the Central Bank’s Administrative Sanctions regime are included in the Central Bank’s surplus income which is payable directly to the Exchequer.

In accordance with the Central Bank’s principles of working with integrity and transparency, public statements are issued at the conclusion of enforcement actions. These statements also serve to inform and advise the financial sector and consumers of expected standards and behaviours.

The public notices regarding Enforcement Actions (concluded pursuant to Part IIIC of the Central Bank Act 1942) can be found on our Public Statements page.

Disqualification Notices, Suspension Notices and Prohibition Notices can be found on our Prohibition Notices page.

Enforcement also works with supervisory divisions and regulated entities to put in place redress schemes to compensate consumers for loss suffered as a result of the actions of such entities. 

See also: