Belfast Telegraph

New powers to assess top bankers

Top bankers not fit for the job will be suspended, sacked or banned from the financial sector under sweeping new powers to improve standards.

Central Bank financial regulator Matthew Elderfield will also have the authority to veto senior appointments as well as enforce rules which ensure that industry executives act honestly, ethically and with integrity.

He said: "Once the new powers are in place, we will be able both to act as gate-keepers for individuals entering the industry and to remove individuals from their posts.

"Where an issue arises we will have the power to carry out a full investigation.

"And now, with our new powers, we will be able, where appropriate, to suspend or remove an individual from a senior position in a regulated firm."

The tough new regime, brought into law under the Central Bank Act 2010, is expected to come into effect in September.

Mr Elderfield told students from the Foresight Business Group at Trinity College that he wanted corporate governance in Ireland to be higher than the best international standards.

He said: "Ireland has suffered more than most countries in the financial crisis and needs to get to grips with the homegrown elements of that crisis.

"Stronger remedies are needed here to shake up prevailing corporate governance practices by injecting some fresh blood and setting more exacting standards. This will improve the reputation of Ireland as an international financial centre."

The Central Bank will review the existing executive and non-executive directors of banks which have been bailed out by the government. Officials will also assess directors on their competence and track record in the months prior to the financial crisis. They also plan to look closely at the actions of bankers who may have contributed to an institution needing taxpayers' money.

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