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Central Bank urges no-deal Brexit checks with financial services firms

Central Bank urges no-deal Brexit checks with financial services firms

The Central Bank has urged customers of financial services companies to take steps to ensure those firms are ready for the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

The regulator has also warned there will inevitably be some negative impact on consumers where firms have not prepared properly.

Gráinne McEvoy, Director of Consumer Protection at the bank, recommended that consumers read any communication from their financial services provider, contact them if they have not heard from them and do not deal with any unauthorised providers.

“With all the talk about Brexit over the last few years, there is a danger of Brexit fatigue setting in,” she said.

“But with a no-deal Brexit potentially just weeks away, now is the time to find out how it might affect the financial products and services you and your family use.”

“If you haven’t heard from your provider, contact them now to ask them what plans they have in place for you and what they are doing to plan for a no-deal Brexit.”

The bank said the deadline for the UK leaving the EU has been debated so much and extended so often, that people may naturally be tempted to conclude Brexit will not happen this time either.

But it said consumers should nevertheless be taking steps to protect themselves.

Much of the preparatory work has been done to ensure the financial system can withstand the shock of a no-deal Brexit, Ms McEvoy said.

Firms have been pushed to take action needed to protect consumers, while banks, insurers and other financial companies have been repeatedly reminded that they are responsible for putting plans in place, she said.

Companies have also been instructed to contact customers who might be affected by Brexit to let them know what they need to do.

Most have taken the necessary steps, she claimed, and have been in touch with their customers.

“However, there will inevitably be some negative impact on consumers where firms have not put suitable plans in place, failed to secure the necessary authorisation to continue to conduct business in Ireland, or chosen no longer to provide financial services here,” she said.

Financial services providers who are offering services here from a base in the UK under EU passporting rules, need to take steps to ensure they can continue to operate here, she said.

Such businesses should have contacted their customers by now to inform them about their plans to continue providing services in the market and if not, what plans they have put in place for the customers.

“If you have received such a letter or other communication, I would urge you to take the time to read it and consider its contents,” she said.

“If you have not heard from your service provider and are concerned, you should contact them and find out if you will still be able to use their product or services after 31 October and, if not, what plans they have in place for their customers.”

Legislation has been prepared to enable continuity in some services provided by UK entities in Ireland, such as insurers, for a limited period after a hard Brexit.

However, companies in this situation should have communicated this to their customers, Ms McEvoy said.

Selling financial products or services without the necessary authorisation is a criminal offence and the regulator has warned that appropriate action will be taken against such firms if they continue to conduct business in Ireland.

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