SEAR: The Individual Accountability Framework Act 2023

16 March, 2023

On 9 March 2023, the Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Act 2023 was enacted. It sets out the basis for the Senior Executive Accountability Regime (SEAR). On 13 March 2023, following the enactment, the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) launched a three-month public consultation paper (CP153) including draft regulations and draft guidance on the key aspects of the implementation.

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Initial scope of SEAR

It is proposed that SEAR will initially apply to a defined range of firms, namely:

  • Credit institutions (excluding credit unions);

  • Insurance undertakings (excluding reinsurance undertakings, captive (re)insurance undertakings and Insurance Special Purpose Vehicles);

  • Investment firms which underwrite on a firm commitment basis and/or deal on own account and/or are permitted to hold client assets; and

  • Incoming third country branches of the above are also within scope.

The regulations will enable the CBI to rollout the SEAR to other sectors in due course.This approach is consistent with the introduction of Individual Accountability Regimes in other jurisdictions.

The IAF includes Independent Non-Executive Directors (INEDs) and Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) within the scope of SEAR. The CBI’s consultation paper asks: “Do you agree with our proposed approach to the inclusion of INEDS and NEDs within scope of SEAR”, thus providing firms with an opportunity to engage with the CBI on the scope. The standards to be met by INEDs and NEDs in scope of SEAR will relate to their non-executive oversight functions and will be limited to what should reasonably be expected of individuals in that context.

Initial scope of other elements of the IAF (excluding SEAR)

The Conduct Standards, enhancements to the Fitness and Probity (F&P) Regime and strengthening the Administrative Sanctions Procedure will apply to all firms. In addition, certain holding companies established in the state will be brought into the scope of the enhanced F&P regime.

Timeline

The Consultation Paper sets out the following implementation timelines:

  • By 31 December 2023, all firms must comply with the conduct standards and enhanced fitness and probity regime.  

  • By 1 July 2024, all in scope firms must comply with the regulations on inherent and prescribed responsibilities and other SEAR requirements including the development of Statements of Responsibilities and Management Responsibility Maps, examples of both have been provided in the consultation paper.

On completion of the consultation process on 13 June 2023, the CBI will issue a Feedback Statement, and intend to allow for a transitional period for firms and holding companies to implement the relevant changes introduced by the IAF.

We are here to help you

PwC has considerable experience working with firms to implement accountability regimes across the world including:

  • the UK’s Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR);

  • the Australian Financial Accountability Regime (FAR);

  • Singapore’s Individual Accountability and Conduct Regime; and

  • Supporting clients locally in Ireland on the IAF.

PwC has been assisting firms with their preparations for the individual accountability regime through the development of implementation plans, statements of responsibilities, management responsibility maps and reasonable steps frameworks among other key artefacts. Early planning is key to ensuring your firm is in the best possible position to meet regulatory expectations and timelines. PwC is here to support you on the practical implementation of the new regulations and guidance leveraging our experts across regulation and compliance, programme management, data and technology, people and change management.

Contact us

Sinead Ovenden

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Julie Kennedy

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

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