Central Bank Authorisations

McCole & Co. Consultants have the in-depth knowledge and technical expertise to guide you seamlessly through each stage of the Central Bank’s authorisation process.

Whether you are a sole trader, company or partnership, we will provide you with expert support when applying for authorisation as an insurance, investment or mortgage intermediary to the Central Bank of Ireland.

Applying for authorisation to the Central Bank without the assistance and support of an expert, armed with the technical expertise and cognisant of regulatory expectations, can be a very stressful and daunting experience. The Application Form alone is 40 pages long!

Our mission is to defuse the stress involved in the authorisation process by providing timely expert advice and technical guidance that steers you seamlessly through each stage of the authorisation process.

The first step in the process involves meeting you to fully understand your business and the financial products and services that you provide. This is the most important step in the process as it enables us to:

  • identify the licence(s)/authorisation(s) that you need to apply for;
  • assess whether you are likely to meet the Central Bank’s Fitness and Probity Standards;
  • assess whether you are likely to satisfy the Central Bank’s Minimum Competency Code (MCC);
  • identify any complexities with the application;
  • provide you with a projected timeline to get authorised.

Each application is different and requires you to carefully consider your business model and identify the relevant licence(s) or authorisation(s) appropriate for your business. If you do not understand or fail to identify the licence(s) or authorisation(s) that is relevant to your business, the authorisation process can take much long than expected.

We understand that the complex regulatory landscape and are committed to providing you with the technical support that guides you through this process.

By contacting us at an early stage, we will provide timely clarification to you that will help avoid any lengthy delays in the process. We understand that you want to get through the authorisation process as smoothly as possible in order to commence business as an authorised intermediary.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the key stages in the Authorisation Process?
The key stages are as follows:
1. The applicant completes and submits the application form together with supporting documentation;
2. The Central Bank acknowledges receipt of the application form and supporting documentation;
3. The Central Bank reviews the application submission to determine if the applicant has provided key information and documentation;
4. The applicant is provided with log-on details for the Central Bank’s Online Reporting System (ONR);
5. The applicant is required to complete and submit an Individual Questionnaire (IQ) via the Central Bank’s ONR;
6. If the applicant is a sole trader or a director of a limited company, he/she will be required to navigate through the online e-Vetting process;
7. The Central Bank determines whether the applicant has provided completed IQs, Vetting Invitation Forms and Vetting Application Forms as well as acceptable certified proof of identity;
8. The application progresses to the assessment phase when the Central Bank determines that all key information and documentation has been provided;
9. The Central Bank assesses the applicant’s submission and may issue detailed comments and/or seek additional information;
10. The applicant addresses the comments issued by the Central Bank and or provides the Central Bank with the requested information;
11. The Central Bank will notify the applicant of its decision in relation to the application submission.
How long does the application process take?
Each application to the Central Bank is assessed on its own merits. In order to give you a projected timeline to authorisation, we encourage you to contact us at the earliest possible stage to arrange a free consultation. This will enable us to discuss your business model, the types of authorisation(s) you are looking to apply for and take you through each step of the authorisation process.
What type of authorisation(s) do I need to apply for?

This is an important question that you should be in a position to answer prior to making an application for authorisation to the Central Bank. Depending on the nature of the products or services you intend to provide, you will be required to apply for some or all of the authorisations outlined below:-

  • European Communities (insurance Distribution) Regulations 2018;
  • Investment Intermediaries Act 1995;
  • European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016;
  • Consumer Credit Act 1995.
Do I need a qualification to become a Broker?

Yes, you are required to hold a qualification relevant to the products or services you intend to provide to consumers. (For example, you are required to hold the QFA designation when you provide advice to customers.) However, there are exceptions outlined in the Minimum Competency Code that enable you, in certain circumstances, to become a broker if you have not yet received a relevant qualification.

What is a PCF?

A person performing a Pre-Approval Controlled Function (‘PCF’) must be pre-approved by the Central Bank. This means that you cannot commence working in a PCF designated role until you receive formal written approval from the regulator.

For example, if you are applying to be a sole trader you will apply for the PCF-10 (Sole Trader) role. Similarly, if you are applying to be a director of a limited company you will apply for the PCF-1 (Executive Director) designation. A full list of PCF roles are outlined on the Central Bank’s website.

What is an Individual Questionnaire?

An Individual Questionnaire (IQ) is a 12 page document that all PCF’s are required to complete when submitting an application for authorisation to the Central Bank. It requests applicants to provide:

  • personal information;
  • information in relation to professional experience;
  • information in relation to reputation and character;
  • information in relation to current and previous regulatory approvals;
  • information in relation to shareholdings/business interests;
  • information in relation to positions held as director, chair or manager in any other entity.