Ireland’s SEAR Update
Irish Banking Culture Board publishes results of ‘Trust in Banking Survey’.
The Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) was founded by the five retail banks operating in Ireland to help change the culture in Irish Financial Services and to ultimately build trust with the Irish public. Their latest undertaking was a ‘Trust in Banking Survey’, which was conducted with a view to ‘listen and learn’ from the Irish public. The key finding from the Edelman conducted report was that trust levels in Banking remain low with only 38% of the surveyed population feeling that the banking sector had responded well to the Brexit and Covid crises.
The issues at the heart of banking that were a result of the Global financial credit crisis are clearly deep seated and several subsequent high-profile cases resulting in fines have served to re-enforce people’s perceptions. What is clear from the report is that the sector faces a long road back to credibility. Part of that journey will undoubtedly be how the banks respond and implement the impending Senior Executives Accountability Regime (SEAR) that is making its way through the Irish Parliament. The bill is currently at the committee stage with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe hoping to publish the Heads of Bill in July. This will be the first step towards assigning Senior Executives at banks specific business functions that they will be responsible for, and ultimately make it easier to hold them to account should standards fall short.
If the Irish legislation remains in line with the UK’s Senior Manager & Certification Regime (SM&CR) then Senior Executives can expect that ignorance will no longer be a defence. One of the key challenges for holding Senior Bankers to account was the difficult in proving a causal link between responsibilities and outcomes at large and often complex organisations. SEAR will be designed to ensure that there is a clear statement of responsibilities for all Senior Executives within a bank, and that all key business and operational functions are allocated to an individual. It seems from the IBCB’s survey results that this regulation cannot come soon enough for the Irish consumer.