Insights from the Central Bank’s Administrative Sanctions Procedure (ASP) Consultation
Against the backdrop of the introduction of the Individual Accountability Framework (IAF) and Senior Executive Accountability Regime (SEAR), the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) recently launched a public consultation on changes to its ASP as reflected in the Administrative Sanctions Procedure Guidelines [Draft].
The CBI has moved to update its existing ASP guidance with the launch of a public consultation. The consultation proposes to consolidate and replace the CBI’s existing guidance documents (the ASP Outline 2018, the Inquiry Guidelines 2014 and the ASP Sanctions Guidance 2019) with a single guidance document, the “Administrative Sanctions Procedure Guidelines” (Draft ASP Guidelines).
As well as consolidating existing ASP guidance, the Draft ASP Guidelines reflect certain changes to the CBI’s ASP introduced under the Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Act 2023 (Act), which placed various components of the ASP on a statutory footing, as well as changes arising from the CBI’s review of international best practice and its own experience of implementing the ASP to date.
Although the Draft ASP Guidelines have been largely shaped by the Act, they do go further in some respects. Significantly, the Draft ASP Guidelines mark the first time that the CBI has published its methodology for the determination of monetary penalties for firms and individuals, following its publication of general guidance on the determination of sanctions in 2019 (the ASP Sanctions Guidance 2019). Other notable changes include changes to the CBI’s procedures around the disclosure of documents as well as to the settlement process which is now split into three distinct types: undisputed facts settlement; investigation report settlement; and no admissions settlement.
In recent remarks, the Director of Enforcement & Anti Money Laundering at the CBI, Séana Cunningham, emphasised that while the Draft ASP Guidelines do signal certain changes and enhancements, the overall structure of the ASP will remain the same. The Director further noted that whilst enforcement is an important component of the CBI’s financial regulation, it is just one such component, and the CBI will take a holistic approach to the assessment of the most appropriate regulatory response to a particular issue or case and will choose the most proportionate tool to achieve its objectives. The Director noted that when the CBI does pursue enforcement action, it seeks “to adopt an approach that is effective and fair and we believe that the proposed ASP enhancements will support us in that goal.”
The public consultation will run until 14 September 2023, following which the CBI will review all feedback and publish an associated feedback statement.
This briefing outlines the key changes proposed to the ASP, including a recap of changes introduced by the Act and policy changes articulated in the Draft ASP Guidelines.
Please get in touch with any member of our market-leading Financial Regulation: Investigation and Enforcement team if you wish to discuss the ASP. We advise and support clients on a wide range of financial regulatory investigations and enforcement issues and have deep specialist knowledge of the financial services regulatory environment and experience in managing complex contentious regulatory matters.