compliance
22
Dec

The Irish Regulatory and Compliance Market: key learnings from 2019

 

2019 has been our busiest year to date which is cause for optimism as we head into 2020. Despite it being our busiest year, it has been quite cyclical. Some months have been extremely busy, and others have moved slower than anticipated.

 
There are many reasons for this unpredictability: on a macro level, the uncertainty around Brexit, the ECB increased regulation and increasing focus on responsible spending from banks driven by negative rates from the ECB have all come into play.

 
The past year was relatively burdensome in terms of the regulatory pipeline. There have been a number of key regulations around operation risk, outsourcing and conduct and prudential regulation; these are general high-level implementations.

 
Other trends included the increasing number of ManCo’s (management company) and MiFID (markets in financial instruments) firms establishing Irish operations. This slowed in H2 of 2019 but is set to increase again with increased clarity around Brexit.

 
Critical control function (PCF) positions within banks and Financial Services (FS) institutions are still in demand. These types of roles, with strict regulatory requirements, have seen some insulation from adverse market conditions as banks and FS firms struggle to find strong talent across finance, risk, compliance and technology.

 
We have experienced a demand from our clients to collaborate even more closely with them on their key and strategic hires. We are producing more insight reports and research in order to satisfy their needs.

 
Skills that were in high demand in 2019 were strong risk talent, people with international experience and people with a strong understanding of financial crime and prudential regulation.

 
Compliance, anti-money laundering (AML) and financial crime have been areas of growth within banking and FS in 2019. This has been largely due to increased pressure on companies from regulators. There has been a trend of stricter controls in their financial crime function as a result of increased pressure from the ECB and CBI. These measures have been put in place to ensure banking institutions are compliant with new AML directives.

 
Looking forward to 2020, it will be interesting to see developments around the senior executive accountability regime and how this will be implemented and enforced. It is still unclear when this will be implemented and how it will affect the market.

 

Finlay Barry

Principal Consultant – Regulatory and Compliance
f.barry@masonalexander.ie