New Ireland Assurance fined €650,000 over code breaches

Central Bank finds inadequate information was provided in 450,000 statements

The Central Bank fined New Ireland Assurance €650,000 over the breaches

The Central Bank fined New Ireland Assurance €650,000 over the breaches

 

New Ireland Assurance has been fined €650,000 and reprimanded for two breaches of the Consumer Protection Code.

The Central Bank said the Bank of Ireland-owned life assurance company breached the 2012 code by providing incomplete information to consumers regarding its investment products. It also said the firm did not have adequate systems and controls in place to deal with failures in the provision of information.

Range of information

The breaches occurred during the period from July 1st 2012 to November 30th 2014. During this period 458,352 statements that failed to include all required information were issued to 257,342 New Ireland consumers.

Under Central Bank rules, statement sent to holders of investment products must include a range of information, including items such as the opening balance, all additional money invested, withdrawals, the total investment, all interest, charges and the closing balance. The statements need to be provided at least annually.

The Central Bank found that New Ireland had provided incomplete information to customers in respect to the performance of products in which they had invested and had systems and controls failures in relation to providing this information. The breaches were accepted by New Ireland as part of a settlement agreement between the Central Bank and the firm.

System changes

The Central Bank said New Ireland Assurance had taken steps to rectify the breaches identified during its investigation and made necessary system changes to ensure compliance with the protection code.

“The penalties imposed in this case reflect the importance the Central Bank places on the provision of information about products to consumers and the requirement to employ adequate systems and controls to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, including the provisions of the 2012 Code,” the Central Bank said in a statement.

The Central Bank’s Director of Enforcement, Derville Rowland, said that it was of paramount importance that consumers receive all relevant information “in a complete and transparent manner, particularly in respect of longer-term investment products to enable them to analyse the performance and value of their investments and to assess whether those investments are on track to meet their personal financial goals and objectives”.