Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 22 October, 1998
Written Answers - Financial Services Regulation.
Mr. G. Reynolds Mr. G. Reynolds
93. Mr. G. Reynolds asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the structures, if any, her Department proposes to put in place to ensure that there is genuine transparency in the financial and insurance industries as opposed to the current position where breaches of current legislation can go unchecked if undetected by the media. [20859/98]
Mr. G. Reynolds Mr. G. Reynolds
94. Mr. G. Reynolds asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the procedures, if any, in place to ensure that the financial sector complies with existing guidelines in relation to ethics within this sector. [20861/98]
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney) Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney)
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 and 94 together.
The Government has agreed this week to the creation of a new single regulatory authority for financial services. An implementation group is being established to process the work necessary to enable the Authority to be set up as soon as possible. This group will be asked to report back by 28 February 1999. Among the issues to be considered by the implementation group will be the responsibilities of the new Authority in connection with the relationships between financial undertakings and their customers.
The Deputy will be aware that my Department's responsibilities relate to the regulation of the insurance industry as well as to friendly societies and credit unions, company law and consumer protection.
I intend to introduce shortly life assurance transparency regulations. These regulations will provide, as of legal right, for understandable information on essential features or key areas connected with buying life assurance. The prime objectives in the formulation of such a regime are an end to over-complication in presentation of products, enhanced competition, end to misselling/confusion, realistic investment projections, transparency on charges and expenses, knowledge of with whom the consumer is dealing and redress through a firm statutory basis.
Under the Companies Act, 1990, I have responsibility for supervising the training and ethical standards of the accountancy profession, and I have taken a number of initiatives in the recent past to enhance my oversight role. These  include requiring access for my Department to observe investigations by the accountancy bodies of disciplinary cases involving matters of public concern, more detailed annual reporting of their handling of disciplinary matters in general and the notification of company law breaches coming to their attention. I welcome the fact that some accountancy bodies are now taking steps to make their disciplinary proceedings more transparent. I should add for the Deputy's information that the Moriarty tribunal has been asked to make whatever broad recommendations it considers necessary or expedient for the effective regulation by professional accountancy bodies of their members' conduct.
Dáil Éireann 495 Written Answers Financial Services Regulation.