independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Top watchdog job to be split three ways in regulatory overhaul

Con Horan's current position as prudential director at the Financial Regulator will be divided into three assistant director general roles in charge of: financial institution supervision; financial markets supervision; and regulatory risk and enforcement.

Con Horan's role as prudential director at the Financial Regulator is to be split three ways as part of the sweeping overhaul of the regulatory regime, which will see the watchdog re-merge with the Central Bank after a six-year separation, the Irish Independent has learned.

The so-called Central Banking Commission will be chaired by the next governor of the Central Bank, who will be named in the coming months to succeed existing incumbent John Hurley.

The new roles of head of central banking, which is set to be filled by the bank's current director general Tony Grimes, and head of financial supervision, the subject of a large international search, will report directly to the chairman.

The bank has advertised in recent days for an assistant director general (ADG) in charge of financial operations, who will report to Mr Grimes. This is effectively the same position held in the bank by Brian Halpin, who is preparing to retire.

On the financial supervision side, Mr Horan's current position will be divided into three ADG roles in charge of: financial institution supervision; financial markets supervision; and regulatory risk and enforcement.

The first of these positions was also advertised this week, with the second expected to come on the market soon. It is understood that Mr Horan will fill the third role, in charge of regulatory risk and enforcement.

Recommendations

The move to split the function in three was one of the key recommendations made by consultants Mazars, which was brought in late last year to review the regulator's operations.

Mazars also said that significant technology investment would be necessary and suggested that regulatory expertise was lacking in some areas.

Meanwhile, the bank is poised to advertise the plum job of head of financial supervision in the international press within the next week or two.

The Government brought in Andrew Large, former deputy governor of the Bank of England, in April to advise on the recruitment process for the key position.

It is understood that global executive search firm Spencer Stuart has been hired to manage the hunt.

The Department of Finance said last week it is working to ensure that the "person chosen will be of the calibre, reputation, experience and expertise to lead the reform outlined".

The consumer information and education role, currently carried out by the Financial Regulator, is being spun off to the National Consumer Agency, which, in turn, is being amalgamated with the Competition Authority.

Mary O'Dea held the consumer directorship before being appointed acting chief executive of the watchdog after Pat Neary resigned last January. It is not known where Ms O'Dea will fit in following the restructuring.

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