Reflecting an era marked by rapid technological advancements and evolving financial landscapes, the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) issued Consultation Paper CP158 on 7th March 2024 with their proposals to refine and enhance the Consumer Protection Code.

To help focus some thoughts, we have prepared a paper calling out a limited selection from the proposals outlined in CP158 that we feel merit special attention.

The proposed revisions, encapsulated within the draft Conduct of Business Regulations and Standards for Business Regulations (the “revised Code”), aim to bolster the bedrock of consumer rights with a renewed focus on clarity, predictability and transparency for both businesses and consumers.

Accompanying the revised Code are Guidance documents designed to safeguard customer interests and bolster protections for vulnerable customers.

The CBI also stated its strategic intent to integrate the SME Lending Regulations into the revised Code, as well as extending its ambit to encompass all credit union activities, at a future point in time.

This comprehensive approach signifies a robust commitment to consumer protection, ensuring that the revised Code remains relevant and responsive to the needs of all stakeholders.

The consultation period, set to conclude on 7th June 2024, presents a critical window for stakeholders to assess the implications of these proposals on their operational frameworks.

This is a limited opportunity for regulated firms, their advisors, partners and customers to articulate any concerns regarding potential unintended consequences or the feasibility of the proposed implementation timeline.

It is a time for collective reflection, analysis and dialogue to ensure that the final regulations are both effective and equitable. An implementation timeframe has been proposed of 12 months following the publication of the finalised version of the revised Code.

This is not intended to an exhaustive list or summary of the changes, instead it focuses on selected changes to consider as part of any wider more-holistic gap analysis and impact assessment (with a view towards responding to the CP and also preparing for implementation of necessary changes in the business).

Changes in CP158 highlighted and discussed in our paper include:

  • The broadening of the consumer definition to incorporate entities with turnovers exceeding €5 million (raised from €3 million).

  • The removal of the obligation to report unresolved errors within 40 days.

  • A clearer demarcation required by firms between regulated and unregulated activities, aiming to prevent a 'halo effect' of the regulated status of firms across unregulated “activities”.

The introduction of requirements to:

  • Maintain a Vulnerable Customer database (accessible by all relevant staff at all times).

  • Establish a dedicated internal “concern reporting” channel for staff who believe a customer is at risk of financial abuse.

  • Facilitate nomination of a Trusted Contact Person (TCP). 

  • In the context of the increased digitalisation of financial services, new requirements designed to ensure consumer-friendly digital interactions.

  • A requirement to ensure written complaints can always be submitted both via the post and in writing, at the customer’s choosing.

  • A requirement to issue written acknowledgement of customer instructions within 3 working days.

  • A requirement to conduct at least annual reviews of advertising to ensure ongoing alignment with regulatory standards.

  • Additional information required for mortgage customers.

  • Prohibition of automatic renewal (without consent) of pet insurance, travel insurance, gadget insurance and dental insurance.

Also highlighted are areas which are not explicitly addressed in the CP158 but merit further consideration, including:

  • Principles and requirements for large scale remediation projects.

  • The Code of Conduct on the Switching of Payment Accounts.

  • Fees and Charges Disclosure.

As we, Uniquely, continue to champion unparalleled customer experiences, we stand ready to assist businesses in navigating these regulatory evolutions.

Our expertise in crafting bespoke solutions positions us uniquely to support our clients through this transition, ensuring that every interaction remains centred around the paramount importance of the consumer.

Together, we can navigate these changes, ensuring that the financial services industry remains a bastion of trust, integrity and consumer-centricity.

To Access the paper please follow this link


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