Central Bank fines unit of Capita €1.15m for rules breach

UK-owned firm acted as investment firm without authorisation for almost a decade

The Central Bank said Capita  acted as an investment firm between November 2007 and September 18th, 2015, without authorisation

The Central Bank said Capita acted as an investment firm between November 2007 and September 18th, 2015, without authorisation

 

The Central Bank has fined UK-owned Capita Life & Pensions Services (Ireland) €1.15 million for acting as an investment business firm for almost a decade without authorisation from the Irish regulator.

The company, ultimately owned by outsourcing group Capita plc, was found to be in breach of rules by acting as an investment business firm between February 2006 and October 2007 without authorisation under the Investment Intermediaries Act 1995.

The company subsequently acted as an investment firm between November 2007 and September 18th, 2015, without authorisation as required under the European Communities (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations, known as MiFID, the Central Bank said.

“In April 2014, regulatory concerns were raised by the firm’s UK affiliate, which prompted the firm to commence an investigation into its authorisation status regarding occupational pension scheme administration services,” the Central Bank said.

“While the firm acknowledged that it had sufficiently clarified its authorisation by August 2015 it did not report the issue to the Central Bank until February.”

Intermediary

The firm was authorised during the period as an insurance intermediary but conducted unauthorised business outside its core operation during the period, according to the Central Bank.

“The firm’s failure to obtain the required authorisations evidenced an unacceptable lack of proper compliance oversight,” the bank’s director of enforcement Derville Rowland said.

Capita issued a statement to The Irish Times on Thursday in response to questions following the announcement of the fine. However, it later asked for the statement to be retracted, as it had been “provided in error”.

Capita opened its first office in the Republic in 2000, following its purchase of IRG Registrars, providing share registration and employee share-scheme services to some of the country’s main publicly-quoted companies.

The company, which employs over 1,700 in this country, has become best known in recent years for managing and administering loans on an outsourced basis for banks, the National Asset Management Agency and buyers of loans sold during the crisis.

Slowdown

On a call with analysts at the end of last month, Capita chief executive Andy Parker said in a trading update that the company was experiencing a slowdown in asset servicing even as the group forecast that full-year organic revenue will grow by around 4 per cent.

“Our asset-services businesses was always going to show a decline year-on-year this year because the Nama contracts effectively ended last year, where we effectively ran off the book quicker than expected for the client,” Mr Parker said. “Although that was good news last year, that was always going to be a downside.”

It said, however, that the underlying businesses, excluding the Nama contracts, were growing.