Majority of Irish businesses are concerned about exposure to regulatory failures, new survey reveals

Not surprisingly, following the very high profile fines raised by the Central Bank of Ireland, over the recent past, the risk of regulatory failure is a key concern for Irish financial services business leaders. This is according to PwC's latest Business Barometer on regulation. Significant investment has been made by the financial services industry in increasing the clarity around their regulatory compliance, with the majority of survey respondents saying that their regulatory framework was fully developed. However, it is felt by the participants that more work needs to be done on reporting the effectiveness of regulatory compliance internally and externally. In addition, the majority of respondents noted that they needed to do more to review how compliant they are with the areas of regulation that have been the drivers behind recent fines as well as doing more on the hot topics specifically identified by the Central Bank.

Speaking about the survey results Garvan O'Neill, Regulatory Services Partner, PwC said:

"The survey confirms the extent of regulatory challenges faced by Irish businesses. These challenges include establishing and maintaining an effective regulatory compliance framework as well as dealing with governance requirements. With nearly a third of respondents saying that they did not receive updates on regulatory effectiveness, the survey suggests that more work needs to be done to ensure businesses are taking all of the necessary steps to ensure regulatory risks are minimised."

Key findings in the survey are:

  • An overwhelming majority (71%) said that they are concerned about their organisation's exposure to regulatory failures;
  • While over three quarters (77%) of respondents said that their regulatory compliance framework was fully developed, nearly a quarter (23%) said that it was still in development or not developed at all;
  • A third (33%) said that their Board of Directors and Executives have no regular and structured training programme on their regulatory oversight responsibilities
  • A further 29%, however, said this was in development;
  • Over a quarter (26%) said that their organisation has not objectively assessed its compliance with areas of regulation that have been the subject of recent industry regulatory fines;
  • Nearly half (47%) said that their organisation had not yet undertaken a review of its compliance with the areas that the Central Bank of Ireland have identified as part of their Themed Inspections and Enforcement Priorities for 2012.  However, of this some 15% said that there are plans in place to do so;
  • Nearly a third (30%) of respondents said that they did not receive any update on the effectiveness of their prudential and consumer protection regulatory compliance framework;  Over half (55%) said this happened quarterly.  
  • The top three regulatory challenges at present, according to the survey, are (1) Overload of prudential regulatory requirements (65%); (2) Establishing and maintaining an effective regulatory compliance framework (51%), and (3) governance requirements (48%).  These were closely followed by increased regulatory enquiries (46%).

Garvan O'Neill concluded:

"With the complexity and volume of regulation in today's business environment, it is critical that business leaders are supported in gaining an understanding of their regulatory responsibilities and are provided with the information to enable them to carry out this oversight. The survey highlights that a third of Boards of Directors and Executives have no regular or structured training programmes on their regulatory oversight responsibilities. An emphasis on such training is important to ensure that business leaders not only understand their responsibilities but are also equipped to take the right action to prevent unnecessary reputational or economic damage."

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