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Wednesday, 17th April 2024
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At the coal face of regulation Back  
Being a partner and head of the regulatory and compliance unit at Dillon Eustace, Paula Kelleher is faced with challenges such as the concern in the industry at the moment regarding the provisions of the MiFID and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2007.
7.30 On the road. With my second job as a mum, I must chauffeur my children to school armed with their lunches and gear for whatever activity they have on this evening. All going well I plan to arrive at the office at 8.30, this all depends on the traffic of course. If it is my turn, I pick up the coffees on the way.
Paula Kelleher, Dillon Eustace

8.30 First thing each morning on arrival at the office, I check the overnight e-mails to see if anything requires immediate or urgent attention. I respond to the relevant ones and leave the others for later, recognising that the less pressing e-mails will be attended to intermittently throughout the day. This review can sometimes produce some surprises and alter my priorities for the day. I also chat briefly to my colleagues David Nolan, Breeda Cunningham, Tim Pollen and Yvonne Keating in the regulatory and compliance unit to see what lies ahead for the day.

9.00 On my secretary’s arrival, we chat to get a status update of documents outstanding from the previous day and agree priorities for the day ahead. I also try at this time to make calls to clients and respond to more e-mails.

9.30 I have an internal group meeting with my colleagues in the regulatory and compliance unit to discuss the progress of current projects underway. We also use this time to discuss new business proposals and any amendments to legislation we should be aware of from a daily review of the Oireachtas website to see what issues are currently under discussion there. These meetings are also very important to find out what each individual’s workload is and if someone is seriously under pressure, we make arrangements for the re-distribution of certain files. We also tease out challenging issues or queries in this forum which will speed up the turnaround/response time to clients and that help everybody to learn.

10.00 A client meeting is next on the agenda to discuss changes required to be made to their existing policies and procedures in light of the new MiFID regulations. The discussion also includes the requirement for staff training to consolidate the implementation of new policies and procedures. At the moment the new MiFID regulations are presenting a variety of challenges to many clients across various aspects of their business. It is a very busy time but most interesting as the range of queries and concerns are very broad and require creative solutions to address them.

11.30 As partner in the regulatory and compliance unit, a number of colleagues call to my office with an assortment of queries - my knowledge is tested on a daily basis! I can be asked an array of queries covering an all embracing range of subject matters. I do my best to give an answer, if however, I am unable to do so, I may consult with my colleagues in the wider financial services department to hear their views on the query in question. In my opinion, and I believe it is the ethos of the firm, that most queries can be resolved by putting your head around the door to a colleague who will, by and large, be in a position to provide you with the answer to most of them. The ‘open door’ policy which we operate in Dillon Eustace works very well.

12.00 Time to check e-mails received during the morning to see what the rest of the day will bring and responding to those requiring immediate attention. I also try to return more client calls at this time.

12.30 If I am not attending a client lunch I have a quick lunch at my desk. We are spoiled with Munchies on the ground floor of our building so a quick sandwich is close to hand with lots of tempting treats on offer!

12.45 My favourite time of the day - when the office quietens down for lunch it gives me a chance to catch up on some reading and drafting. It is a precious time while the phone is quiet and provides me with an opportunity to tackle things uninterrupted for a short while at least. The peace and quiet is essential to review a document or proposed client response one last time to ensure that all angles of a particular query have been properly addressed.

I use this time also to have a final look over the slides and presentation for in-house client staff training that will take place later in the afternoon.

14.00 The office becomes busy once more as people arrive back from lunch. I might pop into Breeda or David and chat about what’s happening at the weekend, the venue for the Christmas party or the latest engagement of a member of staff- there’s always lots of catching up to do!

14.15 I take the opportunity to return calls from earlier on in the day and glance at e-mails again.

14.30 Internal meeting. There is a lot of uncertainty and concern in the industry at the moment regarding the provisions of the MiFID and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2007. A lively debate ensues around the table. Notes are made and the approach is agreed. Feelings are running high on this one as the ‘retail credit lender’ provisions have potentially very far reaching effect and the negative impact on the securitisation industry only narrowly avoided.

15.00 Time to deliver an in-house training session to client staff. Today’s topic is ‘Directors’ Duties’. Although I am regularly requested to provide training on this and other topical regulatory areas such as anti-money laundering and compliance programmes, I am always concerned that it should run smoothly so it has my full attention. The presentation goes well and is followed by a very lively question and answer session. That is always a good sign - it means people were listening and I didn’t send them to sleep.

16.30 I gather papers and review them in preparation for a board meeting which I will attend tomorrow morning. As a director on a number of boards I must review the agenda for each board meeting and the reports and other documentation contained in the board pack which will be discussed at the meeting.

17.30 It is time once more to return calls and review draft documents left for my attention. I also try to liaise with my colleagues in the regulatory and compliance unit to address outstanding matters at the end of the day. These can vary from queries regarding new projects or queries raised by the Financial Regulator on documents or correspondence submitted to it for review. The topics discussed generally form the basis for the ‘to do’ list for tomorrow.

18.00 Normally I would leave the office and head for home. If I am lucky with the traffic I can be at home by 18.45 on time to have dinner with my children but today a management consultant is making a ‘Personal Development’ presentation to the partners. The presentation turns out to be a little disappointing but the dinner afterwards is enjoyable and provides a welcome opportunity to catch up with colleagues whom I have not seen in some time. Although we are all under one roof again in our ‘new’ offices on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, it is difficult to maintain the close rapport between colleagues that was once shared in our old building on Grand Canal Street. Between a combination of busy days and increasing staff numbers, it is becoming more difficult to recognise the new faces that spring up. However, I do make an effort to chat to the eager new recruits and make them part of the team in Dillon Eustace.

22.00 Time for bed.

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