Market entry

Financial services firms seeking market entry in Ireland sometimes struggle with the detail and level of information required when making an application for authorisation. While there may be an understanding of the overall strategy of the firm, often, it is difficult to map these activities to the applicable regulations and produce a thorough business plan to meet with requirements of the Central Bank of Ireland (‘the Central Bank’).

PwC has extensive experience in assisting financial services firms determine their market entry strategy and we can work with your through each stage of the authorisation process.

How can PwC assist you?

Whether seeking bank, fund, fund service provider, investment management or insurance company authorisation, PwC's dedicated regulatory compliance services team can assist you in all aspects of the application pack.

Our services include:

  • Feasibility studies

    A feasibility study is usually undertaken to determine and document a project's viability. We can combine a wide range of skills in order to conduct a study relating to the feasibility of your proposed project. The potential issues can range from the need to understand the regulatory implications for your chosen business model to understanding the range of future scenarios in terms of the feasibility of your chosen plans.


  • Authorisation services

    The continued growth of the financial services sector in Ireland has led to an increase in the number of firms requiring authorisation from the Central Bank. The type of authorisation required i.e. whether bank, fund, investment management company or insurance company, will dictate the substance of the application. Generally the authorisation process for any regulatory licence is iterative in nature and the length of the process will depend on the quality of the initial submission to the Central Bank.

    The type of assistance PwC can provide includes:


    • Detailed management briefings on the overall application process and anticipated areas of key importance.
    • We work with firms to identify the required resources within the organisation and facilitate project 'kick-off' meetings which will assist in identifying specific requirements.
    • We can assist in the overall communication strategy with the relevant regulatory authority.
    • Preparation of an agreed framework and project initiation for the licence application documentation.

    Regulatory Business Plan

    The Regulatory Business Plan (RBP) is a core section of the overall written application. It should contain business objectives, the financial projections and also the sponsors' perception of the key regulatory risks to the business.

    We can:

    • Provide firms with a template for the RBP.
    • Assist firms in completing the template and check assumptions.
    • Review the completed RBP.
    • Assist in drafting supporting documenting such as risk policies, risk manuals and compliance manuals including assistance in tailoring group policies to local requirements.
    • Review any supporting material e.g. financial projections, risk manuals and compliance manuals.

    Supporting documentation:

    The Central Bank will generally require a substantial amount of supporting documentation such as policies, procedures, financial projections etc to be submitted as part of the any application. We can provide:

    • Assistance with drafting supporting documentation such as risk policies, compliance manuals and proposed service agreements. In particular we can assist in the translation of group policies and procedures to appropriate local policies and procedures.
    • Review of the application pack for completeness and accuracy.

    Ongoing support for regulatory questions that arise during the application process.


  • Governance arrangements

    As part of the application pack for authorisation, the Central Bank will expect documented evidence supporting the governance arrangements for the applicant firm. Regulated financial services firms are under increased pressure to have strong risk management procedures in place. Corporate governance is a key component of a firms risk management framework. PwC can provide support in determining the governance arrangements specific to the needs of your firm and will provide guidance on these arrangements in terms of them meeting with the requirements of the Central Bank.

    We will support you with the following:

    • Assistance with the design and implementation of governance structure and control measures for the firm and provide technical advice on legislative requirements;
    • Provide guidance on the establishment of the internal organisation structure of the firm;
    • Review Board composition, duties and responsibilities of the governing board, consider reporting arrangements, Internal Audit, Compliance, Treasury (where applicable), Financial Control and Risk functions;
    • Evaluate supporting documentation on governance arrangements, assist in devising specific terms of reference for internal key risk management committees, assess level of reporting responsibilities, terms of reference for key risk committees;
    • Provide assistance in determining the required level of integration of governorship with the operational functions of firm.


  • Compliance frameworks

    The compliance framework is another key factor in the overall risk management process for the firm. The design and structure of the compliance framework should be given extensive consideration at the outset so that both regulatory requirements are met and that your firm has a robust compliance structure in place to deal with all regulatory risks.

    We can assist you with the following:

    • The design of your compliance framework and provide guidance on the best means to address compliance for your business.
    • The implementation of a risk based compliance monitoring framework structured to address the risks specific to your business and the design of associated reporting documentation.
    • The identification of inherent and residual compliance risks within your organisation.
    • The design and development of a "compliance universe".


  • Capital adequacy arrangements

    Financial services firms seeking authorisation with the Central Bank will be required to demonstrate their capital adequacy arrangements and evidence of the appropriate capital held as part of the application process. Whether you are looking to establish a fund, a management company, an investment firm, bank or insurance company, the entity will be subject to capital adequacy requirements. Specific legislation is in place for the determination of capital for all of these entity types.

    We can support and assist with the following:

    • Provide technical support in relation to the regulatory capital requirements as they apply to your firm.
    • Implementation of the appropriate capital adequacy framework for your firm.
    • Advice on the capital treatment of transactions and structures as they apply to your firm.
    • The reporting disclosures on meeting capital requirements as per the authorisation application form.
    • The design of your compliance function and provide advice on the best means to address compliance for your business.


  • Notification assistance

    Inward marketing of foreign funds and "passporting" activities will require formal notification to the Central Bank. There are set procedures and requirements to be followed in both instances.

    In completing the formal notification process, we will assist you with the following:

    • Drafting of the notification letter in accordance with regulatory requirements.
    • Guidance on the required supporting material for notification process.
    • Review of the notification pack for completeness and accuracy.
    • Ongoing support for regulatory questions that arise during the notification process.


Why Choose PwC?

  • We have extensive experience in assisting financial services firms at market entry level through the relevant authorisation process.
  • Our experience to date extends to fund (UCITS & Non UCITS) authorisations including fund promoter approval, management company, investment manager approvals, fund service providers, investment managers, banks and insurance companies.
  • We will work with you and devise a detailed project plan specific to your application to help establish a smooth process flow from initiation through to and after submission of the application.
  • The PwC regulatory compliance services team is multi-disciplinary team with experience in all regulatory aspects of authorisation in Ireland and elsewhere. You will be assigned a dedicated project manager to assist you through the application process.