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Industry welcomes world first for Ireland Back  
The Financial Regulator has become one of the first regulatory authorities in the world to publish 'Stakeholder Protocols', clarifying its objectives in three key areas, and committing itself to meeting key deadlines with regards to new authorisations.

The protocols, which were published on Wednesday, July 4th, have been strongly welcomed by members of the Financial Services Consultative Industry Panel, who had urged the importance of the publication of such protocols.

James Deeney, chairman of the panel, told FINANCE that he believes it is the first time that a regulator anywhere in the world has done something like this. The protocols set out how to deal with the Regulator from both a consumer and financial institutions perspective. With regards to the professional angle, the protocols clarify the Regulator's objectives in three key areas: 1) authorisations; 2) inspections; and 3) consultations.

With regards to authorisations, the Regulator has agreed to meet stated deadlines when authorising collective investment schemes, service providers, persons and prospectuses. Moreover, financial services directors will no longer be required to fulfill a Garda check, as it will be up to the financial services entity to determine whether the people are suitable or not.

The industry has long complained about the Regulator's approach to inspections, as companies were often not sure of what they were being inspected on, what documentation was required and what the follow-up would be. In its new stakeholder protocols, the Regulator will significantly clarify this procedure.

With the Regulator having agreed to undertake Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) for any significant regulatory changes, it also commits itself to meeting other targets in the new protocols, such as publishing a proposed schedule of consultations at the start of the year, and ensuring that the consultation process lasts longer than a month.

The Regulator is committed to meeting its stated objectives, and should it fail to do so, a complaints procedure is also going to be instituted.

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