The Central Bank of Ireland is the authority responsible for the regulation and supervision across all financial sectors in Ireland. The relevant legislation is the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011 which transposed the E-Money Directive into Irish law. At Cosgrove Gaynard, our expert team assist and guide our clients through this complex application process to obtain an e-money licence in Ireland. If you are considering Ireland as a destination to establish an e-money institution, please contact us for further information and to discuss further.
E-money licence application Ireland
Over the last few years, electronic money (e-money), has been growing in importance. Combine this with the crypto currency boom which also introduced a raft of new technologies, and it is clear that this is a vibrant field. Cosgrove Gaynard solicitors are pleased to offer support and guidance to clients in this niche area of Fintech law.
Ireland has over the last few years, become an attractive option for e-money institutions. Many have been attracted to Ireland due to its thriving Fintech economy but there are a number of further advantages to being authorised in Ireland:
- Support from government agencies such as IDA ireland for international companies setting up in Ireland.
- Once an e-money licence is issued in Ireland, it passports you to other EU member states and the EEA.
- Taxation in Ireland. Ireland offers a competitive corporate tax rate of 12.5%.
- A stable and highly educated workforce in the area.
The Central Bank of Ireland is the authority responsible for the regulation and supervision across all financial sectors in Ireland. The relevant legislation is the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011 which transposed the E-Money Directive into Irish law.
The Central Bank has a rigorous authorisation procedure and takes an assertive risk-based approach to supervision. The Central Bank has a statutory duty to ensure that only companies that meet their requirements are authorised in Ireland.
The completion of the registration and acquisition of an e-money licence is a rigorous process as mentioned and so requires specialist input to ensure you receive authorisation to allow you to engage in e-money activities in Ireland. Further information is available on the Central banks website.
An e-money licence (EMI) means companies can carry out the following activities:
• Issue e-money
• Deliver e-payment services
• Handle e-payments for third parties
• Ensure operation is within the regulatory guidelines
Passporting to EU
An e-money licence obtained in Ireland allows an institution to passport throughout the EU and indeed the EEA and therefore can avail of the right to provide e-money services throughout the EEA.
The following are some initial details regarding the Central Bank criteria for a successful e-money application:
- Company capital must meet certain thresholds (currently initial capital of at least €350,000 however the actual amount required for an institution will be notified as part of the authorisation process);
- The company must show evidence of sound internal control procedures and policies;
- The company must demonstrate a sound business plan, operations programme and organisation;
- The company must be able to show the company structure and management hierarchy;
- The company must show detailed AML/ CTF procedures and controls;
- The company must have a proper presence in Ireland. This includes a proper office presence along with senior management. The key is showing that an applicants “ heart and mind” will be located in Ireland.
There are 5 key steps to completing your e-money application and obtaining your licence.
1. Acknowledgement. Once the application is completed and submitted along with associated documents, the Central bank will acknowledge receipt within 3 working days.
2. Key information check. The Central Bank will examine the application and decide whether to accept it for consideration or whether further information is required. This process takes 10 working days from receipt of the application.
3. Assessment. The Central Bank will assess the application. Generally initial comments and indeed subsequent comments will issue. The timeframe for this stage is 90 days however this period of time is paused during time periods where the Central Bank has requested further information.
4. Notification of assessment. The Central Bank notifies an applicant of the decision further to the assessment process. If successful, they will notify the applicant that they propose to issue authorisation. They may specific certain conditions along with the reasoning behind these conditions and a chance will be given to make representations if so required .
Should the Central bank be inclined to refuse the authorisation based on the assessement, it will set out the areas to be addressed. Again a chance will be provided to respond.
5. Notification of decision. Where an authorisation application is successful, the Central Bank will notify the applicant of the decision to authorise the application within 10 working days of any pre conditions being satisfied.
If unsuccessful, the Central Bank will notify the grounds for refusal. Again the opportunity to make submissions will be available.
The Central Bank must assess an application and confirm whether an application has been granted or refused within 3 months of receipt of all the information it requires to make a decision.
At Cosgrove Gaynard, our expert team assist and guide our clients through this complex application process to obtain an e-money licence in Ireland. If you are considering Ireland as a destination to establish an e-money institution, please contact a solicitor in Ireland or a Dublin solicitor.
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