Special Report 72:   Financial Regulator, Responding to the Financial Market Crisis - Press Release

Dublin Castle

22 March 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Financial Regulator, Responding to the Financial Market Crisis

The Comptroller and Auditor General, John Buckley, has today published a report which outlines the measures taken by the Financial Regulator as the financial crisis unfolded. The report was completed before the announcement of a banking inquiry and was, in part, designed to update a report completed in 2007.

In particular, the report sets out adjustments made to the supervision of financial institutions covered by the State guarantee, the results of a review of the adequacy of its prudential inspection process commissioned by the Regulator and how one major incident - the practice of transferring loans of a director of one financial institution to another at its financial year end - was handled.

Recognising that adjustments to financial regulation will need to be made in an international context, it also outlines the findings of recent EU and international reports that examined the operation of financial regulation.

In the area of supervisory procedures and practices the report suggests that a greater emphasis on testing of transactions and balances might be considered as part of the Regulator’s inspection work. The basis for this is that risk based systems can only function optimally when informed by on-the-ground evidence based on actual transactions. It also suggests that a top down analysis of the sustainability of the business models and associated strategies of individual institutions could result in a more robust supervisory system.

The Minister for Finance has announced his intention to establish a fully integrated institution incorporating the Central Bank and the Regulator in place of the current structure, and legislation to give effect to these changes will be initiated in Dáil Éireann.

A copy of the findings and overall conclusions are set out in the attached Summary of Findings.

Related Material

A report entitled Review of the Regulatory Environment was commissioned by the Department of the Taoiseach and was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in conjunction with Compecon and can be found at www.betterregulation.ie.

The Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Patrick Honohan, has been requested by the Government to prepare a preliminary report on the performance of the functions of the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator. The announcement can be found at http://www.finance.gov.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=6166&CatID=1&StartDate=1+January+2010&m=n

A further report is being prepared by Mr. Klaus Regling and Mr. Max Watson on the origins of the banking crisis. The announcement can be found at http://www.finance.gov.ie/Viewtxt.asp?DocID=6210&StartDate=1+January+2010

Notes for Editors

The Comptroller and Auditor General is an independent constitutional officer with responsibility for the audit of public funds. He reports to Dáil Éireann.

The full text of the current report and that of the 2007 Special report 57, The Financial Regulator, is available at www.audgen.gov.ie

For further information contact: Fergus Glavey at (01) 603 1021 or fergus_glavey@audgen.irlgov.ie