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December 18 2017 11:18 AM
Merrion Stockbrokers has been fined €200,000 by the Central Bank of Ireland for failing to adhere to certain standards as required under the Fitness and Probity (F&P;) regime.
In addition to the fine, the bank reprimanded Merrion for a breach of section 21 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010.
The breach, which has been admitted by Merrion, was identified during a Central Bank inspection of the firm in 2016.
Following the introduction of the Fitness and Probity Regime on 1 December 2011, the bank found that Merrion failed to introduce adequate systems or procedures to ensure compliance with section 21 of the 2010 Act.
It also failed to take reasonable steps to satisfy itself that its CFs (individuals in influential and customer facing roles) and PCFs (most significant CFs, pre-approval controlled functions) complied with the F&P; standards.
"The Fitness and Probity regime was introduced in the wake of the financial crisis because of the need to ensure that the right individuals were working in the financial services sector and that those individuals would be held accountable if their conduct fell below the expected standards," Head of Enforcement Investigations, Brenda O’Neill, said.
"Under the Fitness and Probity regime, the Central Bank acts as a gatekeeper for individuals in senior positions at supervised firms, known as pre-approval controlled functions.
"Importantly however, it is firms who have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the wider population of individuals working in financial services, namely those in controlled functions, are suitable. This is an obligation that firms have when appointing individuals to roles," she added.
Ms O Neill said that this is the first case against a firm for a breach of its section 21 obligations.
"We expect all firms to take note of this case and understand that they play a crucial role in ensuring that the Fitness and Probity regime works effectively," she said.