Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Markets in Financial Instruments Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages
I do not want to get into the conversation about a corporate crime agency. It is a broader conversation for another time. However, I do want to thank all the Senators who participated in the debate. This is really important legislation. It is another tool in our armoury to ensure what the Senator spoke of a moment ago, namely, that people know there is a serious criminal sanction of ten years in prison or a fine of €10 million.Ireland has developed a large financial services sector that is twice the size of the European average and employs 90,000 people in domestic and international financial services spread throughout the country. One third of the jobs are based outside County Dublin. The perception is that they are all in County Dublin but they are not.
The process of reform has turned from crisis management to how financial markets can serve the broad policy objectives of jobs and growth. We believe that putting in place criminal sanctions for serious infringement of the markets in financial instruments directive, MiFID, rules will provide a deterrent effect against any blatant misbehaviour and thus promote orderly markets, market integrity and investor protection.
Similarly the essential technical amendments to both the Credit Reporting Act 2013 and the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman Act 2017 are required to ensure that the central credit register and the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman cover the products envisaged by Government when initially enacted. The ombudsman will have the necessary power to investigate, where appropriate. This relates to Senator Kieran O'Donnell's question about long-term financial products and whole-of-life policies. The ombudsman has the authority to deal with these matters.
I thank the Senators who participated in the debate and I appreciate their flexibility and work on this legislation.