Central Bank of Ireland announces covid-19-related forbearance measures
The Central Bank of Ireland (“CBI”) has issued a markets update (the “Update”) confirming flexibility for filing dates relating to certain regulatory returns due from investment firms, fund service providers and investment funds over the COVID-19 period.
The CBI also clarifies certain other matters in the Update including:
- its expectations regarding deadlines for submission of reports regarding safeguarding of client assets or investor money;
- its expectations regarding risk mitigation programme (RPM) implementation dates; and
- postponement of its regular assessments of the domestic regulatory policy framework for investment firms.
The update follows a number of recent announcements by ESMA issued on 9 April calling on national regulators to exercise flexibility in relation to issues arising from COVID-19 disruption.
The decision by the CBI to allow funds and investment firms this flexibility in relation to submission of regulatory returns is welcome news for the industry during these challenging times. Regulatory Returns
The Update provides for extension periods for the filing of returns and the Table A setting out these extensions is reproduced below.
Investment firms that are in a position to meet the existing reporting deadlines should do so.
The Update states that all reports and returns not listed the Table or dealt with elsewhere in the Update, should continue to be submitted in a timely manner to the CBI.
Financial Statements of Investment Funds
The Update states that the CBI expects that authorised investment funds will file financial statements with the CBI within usual time frames. However, where an authorised investment fund is not in a position to meet these deadlines the CBI will allow flexibility as summarised in Table B below.
This is provided that the relevant authorised investment fund (or its management company or AIFM) promptly notifies the CBI and informs investors as soon as practicable of the delay, the reasons for such a delay and to the extent possible the estimated publication date. The CBI states that where it is normal practice to publish financial statements through a website, notification of delay should also be made via the website.
Table B – Investment Funds
As mentioned above, the CBI covers a number of other matters in the Update that are not discussed in detail in this update. These items include:
Pillar 3 Disclosures
The CBI expects MiFID investment firms that are subject to the Capital Requirements Regulation and Capital Requirements Directive IV to advise of any delay, the reasons for such delay and, to the extent possible, the estimated publication date of their Pillar 3 reports, if they are delayed.
Client Asset and Investor Money Requirements
The Central Bank will allow certain flexibility for investment firms and fund service providers, in respect of deadlines for the submission of assurance reports in respect of investment firms and fund service providers’ arrangements for the safeguarding of client assets or investor money for submissions falling due from April to July 2020 inclusive, where it is not possible to comply with the applicable deadlines as a result of COVID-19 related issues.
Additional Data Requests
To examine the effects of COVID-19 on the financial sector, the CBI has indicated that it will require additional targeted information to be submitted by investment firms (such as the requested made relating to liquidity) during this period and that it will expect firms to reply to such requests in an expedient manner.
Risk Mitigation Programmes (RMPs) for Investment Firms and Fund Service Providers
The CBI states that it expects investment firms to be in a position to meet the existing RMP implementation dates and to engage with the Central Bank where they have difficulties in relation to meeting specific RMP submission dates.
Updates to Central Bank Regulatory Policy Frameworks
The CBI will delay updates to any regulatory policy frameworks relating to the funds industry, specifically its feedback statement in relation to Treatment, Correction and Redress of Errors in Financial Statements.
The CBI confirms that it will apply measures outlined in recent announcements by ESMA as described in the Update. The blanket application of the ESMA measures by the Central Bank should provide some reassurance to industry participants that any further measures announced by ESMA will also be implemented by the CBI.
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