Ireland to Revamp Post-Crisis Probity Regime for Finance Workers

Pedestrians pass shops and restaurants on Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland, on Thursday, March 28, 2024. Ireland has maintained a stable economy and almost full employment, but the Irish face a desperate lack of affordable housing, exacerbated by the largest influx of migration the country has ever seen. Photographer: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg (Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- In a broad overhaul of its post-crisis system for determining whether finance workers are up to the job, Ireland will interview more candidates and establish a dedicated unit to carry out the work following a sweeping review of the 14-year-old regime. 

The system, which has fielded more than 50,000 applications since its creation and was one of the first of its kind in Europe, has been intensely scrutinized since February when a tribunal ordered the regulator to reassess its refusal to authorize the would-be chairman of two Irish investment funds. 

The central bank announced the review the day the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal’s decision was published, saying it was necessary to ensure the process “remains effective into the future.” The review was undertaken by Andrea Enria, the former supervisory chief of the European Central Bank. 

The study found Ireland’s system was broadly in line with peers, but still recommended 12 areas of improvement. It is likely to be welcomed by the country’s domestic and international finance sector, whose members had privately complained that the regime had become overbearing and lacked accountability. 

Ireland is the world’s third-largest center for investment fund assets and employs more than 19,000 finance workers. Enria’s report said the CBI had interviewed just seven of more than 1,500 candidates for funds roles last year, and suggested targets for interviewing greater numbers would improve the process.

Other recommendations include creating a new unit to oversee applications, so that they were completely separate from any enforcement actions; a time limit of 90 minutes on interviews; and, sharing the agenda for interviews in advance. 

Central bank Governor Gabriel Makhlouf said he accepted “all of the recommendations of the review” and the CBI would “immediately” move to implement them. 

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