Business Irish

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Central Bank plans database of 300,000 Irish firms' details

The Central Bank of Ireland’s new Dublin headquarters. Photo: PA Wire
The Central Bank of Ireland’s new Dublin headquarters. Photo: PA Wire
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The Central Bank is looking to compile a company-by-company database of the attributes and financial statements of the roughly 300,000 companies incorporated in Ireland.

The regulator said the information is required under new ECB regulations, and that the data set would also help it keep an up-to-date register of non-financial entities, as well as keep tabs on shadow banking operations.

Much of the information is already in the public domain via the Companies Registration Office (CRO), including detailed information on companies such as balance sheet and profit and loss data.

If it can't be found in the CRO, it can be sourced from private international corporate registers.

But the Central Bank said access to the CRO is currently on a case-by-case online query basis, and that the data is primarily only available in pdf format, and/or in hand-written scanned documents.

"Given that there are approximately 300,000 companies incorporated and registered with the CRO, the Central Bank is seeking the services of an economic operator that can extract, compile and furnish the required variables in a structured dataset format," the regulator said in a tender document.

The bank said it needed the information for a number of reasons, including to meet ECB regulations.

It referred to the AnaCredit project, a scheme to set up a dataset containing detailed information on individual bank loans in the eurozone. It involves the collection of a large amount of data relating to borrowing by legal entities from credit institutions.

The Central Bank said the dataset will help it by providing data on some of the attributes of these legal entities.

It also said the information will provide granular information relating to the non-financial sector's financial statements and attributes which will help with identifying vulnerabilities in the sector.

"The dataset will assist the bank in maintaining an up-to-date register of non-financial entities and shadow banking entities.

"It will also assist with identifying structures of complex corporations, such as the parent companies and subsidiaries of entities," the Central Bank tender document said.

It will also help with research projects carried out within the Central Bank, including an "analysis of NFC balance sheets over time by company size and NACE code; the examination of the role of trade credits as a source of NFC finance; and in researching questions such as the influence of financial variables on investment structures".

"The dataset will be used by the Central Bank internally in order to meet its functions and obligations as a national central bank, including to validate and supplement data collected from credit institutions," it added.

"While the reporting banks will be required to collect and report reference data relating to their borrowers, the dataset will provide a mechanism to the Central Bank to undertake quality assurance on the data submitted and to ensure appropriate coverage."

Details will be reported to the ECB as part of the AnaCredit project.

Irish Independent

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