Regulatory Developments In 2011 - Activity At The FSO And Central Bank Enforcement Unit

Author:Matheson Ormsby Prentice's Insurance Practice Group, Sharon Daly, Helen Noble and Darren Maher
Profession:Matheson Ormsby Prentice

Central Bank of Ireland (the "Central Bank")

In accordance with the its Enforcement Strategy 2011 – 2012, robust enforcement measures were taken by the Central Bank throughout 2011 against regulated entities and persons involved in the management of those regulated entities that failed to comply with regulatory requirements. The Central Bank reported a 20% increase in administrative sanctions proceedings in comparison to 2010.

In December 2011 the Central Bank imposed its largest fine to date. It fined Combined Insurance Company of Europe Limited €3,350,000.00 arising from 'grave and persistent' breaches of the Consumer Protection Code. The Director of Enforcement of the Central Bank, Peter Oakes, commented that this fine "reflects the seriousness with which we view fundamental regulatory failures including inadequate systems and controls which cause large scale non-compliance with our regulatory requirements".

The Central Bank has indicated a strong intention to continue to focus its supervisory and enforcement resources to achieve acceptable standards of compliance and consumer protection within the financial services industry and, therefore, we expect to see further activity in this area in 2012.

Financial Services Ombudsman (the "FSO")

Bi-annual Review

The FSO recently published his office's bi-annual review which analyses all complaints received and findings made by the FSO in the first six months of 2011. Its results show an overall increase in the number of complaints received and the percentage of findings upheld against financial service providers has also increased. 48% of all complaints were specific to the insurance sector, 18% of which related to household building insurance, 17% to motor insurance and 13% to life assurance. Over 75% of these complaints, however, were not upheld by the FSO.

Publication of Complaints Records

William Prasifka, the FSO, has received a number of submissions regarding his recent proposal to...

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