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IFSRA operation pegged to start in New Year Back  
It is expected to take about a year to enact the necessary legislation to give the new Central Bank of Ireland and Financial Services Authority its powers. Although there will be intense activity in getting the structure off the ground it will not be fully active until 2002.

The legislation will be formed by two acts and Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy told Finance that he hopes the new structure would be operational by the early 2002.

Under the new structure the Government will appoint the IFSRA board. This board will have 10 members with an independent chairperson. The high profile roles of chief executive officer of IFSRA and the customer services director will both be on the board. The remaining members will be representative of the main social partners, consumers and people with appropriate legal accountancy and other expertise.

The proposal will see a statutory scheme establishing a single ombudsman for all financial services providers regulated by IFSRA. This will be a statutory scheme covering all areas of financial services provision regulated by the IFSRA. It will be linked to the IFSRA so that the Ombudsman can benefit from the experience and authority of the IFSRA in dealing with the industry. However the Ombudsman will be fully autonomous in investigating complaints.

Another aspect of the new system is the introduction of consultative panels, with a joint committee of consultative panels formed by an industry panel and a consumer panel. This will be the formal system for the industry and consumers to express their views about the industry to the Regulator. Both the industry and consumers will each have a separate panel where they can discuss issues and formulate ideas. A joint committee will then present a shared view to the IFSRA.

IFSRA will have the power to impose sanctions on a financial services provider. If the financial services provider does not accept the determination, an appeal will be determined by an independent Tribunal.

The McDowell Report, published in June 1999, identified a need to set up an appeals system for financial institutions. The Government says that the new scheme of appeals tribunal is part of an overall proposal to review all existing provision for sanction and penalties.

The Tan?iste and the Minster for Finance will proceed immediately to appoint a board for the IFSRA on a non-statutory basis in anticipation of the legislation. That board will then appoint a ceo and a customer protection director.

New framework to be theme at conference
Ireland’s financial services regulation framework is one of the key themes at the second annual Finance Dublin conference on March 27th-28th 2001.

One of the conference chairmen is Maurice O’Connell, confirmed as chairman of the new overarching authority, the Central Bank of Ireland and Financial Services Authority Board. Also speaking at the conference are Noel T O’Gorman, second secretary of the Department of Finance, the department with overall responsibility for the new regulatory framework, and Michael Taylor, of the IMF Washington, author of the important seminal paper for the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation ‘Twin Peaks: A regulatory structure for the new century’, which sparked a wide ranging debate on reform of the organisational structure of financial regulation.

Also speaking at the conference is the director general of the internal EU Market John Mogg, the Tanaiste Mary Harney, and Kathi O?Brien, of the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, Washington, and Peter Sutherland chairman and managing director, Goldman Sachs. Conference details are on page 15.

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