The Central Bank’s revised Minimum Competency Code (MCC) 

The Minimum Competency Requirements and any documents or other information published by the Central Bank of Ireland in connection with these Requirements are set out by clicking here.

In brief the Code sets out the minimum standard of competence required of persons carrying out certain functions in regulated firms, including the following:

  • Providing advice to consumers on retail financial product.
  • Arranging or offering to arrange retail financial products for consumers, including any amendments to insurance cover and the restructuring or rescheduling of loans.

The exercise of a specified function, among which are:

  • The direct management or supervision of those who provide advice to consumers about retail financial products or who arrange or offer to arrange retail financial products for consumers.
  • Adjudicating on any complaint by a consumer which relates to advice about a retail financial product provided to that consumer.

Persons carrying out these functions must hold one of the recognised professional designations specified in MCC such as Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) or Accredited Product Adviser (APA) or be grandfathered by their firm or participate, under supervision, in a training process. Licentiate holders of the Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland (LCOI) can adjudicate on complaints as specified above.

Designates and grandfathered persons are required to undertake a number of continuing professional development (CPD) hours per year.

The 2011 Code will be replaced from 3 January 2018 with the Minimum Competency Code 2017 (“New Code”) and the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 (Section 48(1)) Minimum Competency Regulations 2017 (“Regulations”) (S.I. No. 391 of 2017).

The New Code and Regulations are necessary to incorporate updates and changes made at EU level to professional development and competency including, the revised Mortgage Credit Directive which was transposed into Irish law by the European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016 (the “Mortgage Credit Regulations”), MiFID II, transposed into Irish law by the European Union (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations 2017 (With effect from 3 January 2018) and the Insurance Distribution Directive (“IDD”) (Due to be transposed into Irish law by 23 February 2018).

The New Code and Regulations also incorporate the results of the Central Bank consultation: Review of the Minimum Competency Code 2011 (November 2016) and feedback (CP106 Q&A).