Central Bank introduces new minimum competency standards

Sep 07, 2017
The Central Bank introduced minimum competency standards in 2007, which were subsequently updated in 2011 when the current Minimum Competency Code (MCC) was issued. They are a longstanding feature of the regulatory regime in Ireland and set out statutory minimum professional standards for staff of financial service providers when they are dealing with consumers in relation to retail financial products.
Changes to these standards are now being introduced following recent European Union (EU) developments in the area of professional knowledge and competence requirements contained in the Mortgage Credit Regulations, Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II) and Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD).
Following publication of a consultation paper in November 2016, the Central Bank is now issuing a revised MCC Code and new Minimum Competency Regulations 2017, which together replace the former Code. The changes will take effect on 3 January 2018.
The changes arising from these developments include:
  • In addition to obtaining a relevant recognised qualification, a requirement on a regulated firm to ensure that staff have obtained the competence and skills appropriate to the relevant function, through experience or training gained in an employment context;
  • A requirement for at least one key staff member involved in the design of a retail financial product to meet a prescribed standard of minimum competency;
  • A requirement of six hours of continuous professional development each year for board members of a mortgage credit intermediary; and
  • A requirement on regulated firms to carry out an annual review of staff members’ development and experience needs.

Source: Central Bank of Ireland.