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Central Bank of Ireland (“CBI”) fines and disqualifies former insurance company senior manager

  • Ireland
  • Financial services and markets regulation - Briefings and articles
  • Financial services disputes and investigations
  • Financial institutions - Senior Managers and Certification Regime

19-06-2020

Introduction

On 18 June 2020, the CBI publicly announced that it had imposed a fine of €70,000 on the former executive director and chief financial officer of RSA Insurance Ireland DAC (“RSA”), Rory O’ Connor, and disqualified him for 8 years and 4 months.

The fine and disqualification were imposed on Mr O’ Connor as part of a settlement agreement with him under the CBI’s Administrative Sanctions Procedure (“ASP”). Under the ASP, the CBI may impose such sanctions on a “person concerned in the management of a firm” who has participated in a regulatory breach by the firm. The CBI action against Mr. O’ Connor follows the CBI’s December 2018 settlement with RSA under the ASP, in which the CBI imposed a fine of €3.5 million on RSA.

Background

In December 2018, the CBI fined RSA for its failures relating to the establishment and maintenance of adequate financial reserves, to cover liabilities for insurance claims.

The CBI’s recent fine and disqualification of Mr O’ Connor follows-on from the RSA settlement, given his role and activities in the firm relating to the under-reserving in breach of regulatory requirements.

Specifically, the CBI found that Mr O’Connor “knowingly participated in the systematic under-reserving of large loss claims, actively facilitated the on-going operation of the under-reserving and concealed it from the Central Bank through the provision of inaccurate financial”. In particular, the CBI found that he:

• “Participated, along with certain other individuals, in undocumented meetings during which certain large [insurance] loss claim reserve estimates were deliberately and wrongfully under-reserved”;

• “Gave instructions and transmitted information relating to those claims within [RSA], knowing them to be under reserved”; and

• “Concealed the under-reserving by knowingly providing inaccurate and misleading financial information to the Central Bank in his role as CFO”.

The under-reserving amounted to just over €29 million. To meet the shortfall in reserves, RSA’s parent company had to inject a significant amount of capital into RSA.

Comment

This settlement is a further demonstration of the CBI’s stated aim to hold individuals to account for regulatory failings within firms. The CBI is continually ratcheting-up its efforts to hold individuals to account. Its tool-kit to do so will be further enhanced when its proposed new Individual Accountability Framework, including the Senior Executive Accountability Regime (“SEAR”) is introduced, once relevant primary legislation to give effect to it is adopted.

Further information

We are particularly well-placed to assist firms and individuals to address issues relating to CBI investigations. Our team of experienced professionals includes a former Deputy Head of Enforcement of the CBI.