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Top Trends for Regulated Businesses: Ireland Edition

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Top Trends for Regulated Businesses: Ireland Edition

In part three of our new series, we’re shifting focus to cover the current trends in Ireland’s financial services market. Between growing climate risk concerns, a host of incoming legislation, the Brexit tailwind, and ongoing talent challenges, 2024 is shaping up to be a watermark year for Ireland’s financial services space. Find out more below. 

The IAF (Individual Accountability Framework) Rollout

The Senior Executive Accountability Regime (SEAR), a key aspect of the IAF, will come into force on July 1st, 2024. Initially, in-scope firms are to include banks, targeted investment firms, credit institutions (but not unions), selected insurance undertakings, and incoming third-party branches. Currently, SEAR is set to apply to independent non-executive directors (INEDs) at in-scope firms from July 1st, 2025. 

Modelled on the UK’s SMCR (Senior Managers and Certification Regime), SEAR seeks to improve transparency in Ireland’s finance sector by holding senior individuals personally accountable for the impact of their decision-making. 

Whilst in many ways the updates to the IAF represent an era of higher standards, we’re seeing a range of PCFs (Pre-Approval Controlled Functions) come under pressure from the added layers of regulatory complexity. This often leads to an increase in micromanagement, which in turn, makes junior candidates more likely to move jobs. 

Moreover, top Risk and Compliance candidates recognise that more responsibilities mean more demand and even more room for specialisation. Correspondingly, this is reflected in the rising salaries, particularly for INEDs, whose daily rates have increased to around €3,300 - €5,500 in the last 24 months. 

As the scope of SEAR inevitably extends, firms will need to ensure that they’re equipped with the right talent to help them navigate the ensuing change. 

If you’re struggling to overcome talent challenges or you’d like some free market consultation from our specialist recruiters, contact the team here:

Enhanced Reporting Requirements (ERR)

Following changes to the 2022 Finance Act, Phase One of Ireland’s Enhanced Reporting Requirements came into force in January 2024. The mandate requires businesses to undertake more detailed reporting on non-taxable employer benefits, specifically:

  • Travel and subsistence

  • Remote working allowance

  • The Small Benefit Exemption Scheme

The ERR is intended to enhance transparency around tax compliance, but it’s not been met warmly. Employers are hyper-conscious of their growing regulatory burden, reflected in the complexity of the ERR’s real-time reporting mandate. 

Alongside raising awareness through training, employers will likely need to revisit how their internal payment and record-keeping systems are collated and categorised. If you need support from Broadgate’s finance consultants, we’re here to help. Reach out to our specialists here

The Pay Transparency Directive

By June 7th, 2026, EU member states will need to comply with the Pay Transparency Directive by implementing its provisions into their national laws. Whilst mandatory gender pay gap reporting has been present in Ireland since 2022 (the current rules meet many of the new criteria), meeting compliance guidelines will require changes.

One of the most significant changes introduced by the Pay Transparency Directive will be the way the data is reported. Currently, Ireland’s employers report solely on gender data, whereas under the new directive, they will need to categorise their reports by role. For example, an investment firm may need to showcase data on the pay difference between financial analysts and associates. 

For many, this marks the start of a major overhaul in the way they report and record company data – leaders should start preparing for the changes by familiarising themselves with the details of the directive (which you can find here) and conducting a readiness audit. 

Here at Broadgate, our diversity-focused recruitment methodology enables us to help our clients create more representative workforces –find out more about our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging here:

Growth Enablement 

Ireland’s thriving startup ecosystem is set to benefit from several initiatives throughout 2024, not least of all the increase in Research and Development Tax Credit, which rose from 25% to 30% on January 1st. 

As of October 2023, the Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme is open for applications. The scheme seeks to close key infrastructural deficits in targeted regions throughout Ireland. By empowering enterprises to collaborate on services to SMEs, local infrastructure projects, innovation clusters, and Feasibility and Priming grants, the scheme will improve the rate of job creation. Applicants will be competing to secure part of the€145.3 million that’s been allocated to the scheme. 

The Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP) is another scheme available to SMEs that, subject to certain conditions, grants tax-efficient share options to employers. Employees on the KEEP scheme are exempt from paying income tax on any gains realised by their share options. The talent retention challenge will likely continue into 2024, therefore, capitalising on alternative workplace benefits like KEEP could prove essential in developing a desirable employer value proposition. 

If you need consultative support on how to nurture your retention rates, our specialist recruiters are equipped to help you build an end-to-end recruitment process designed for both attraction and retention. Let us know what you’re aiming for and we’ll tailor-make you a solution that works for your unique needs. 

The Broadgate team are your full-service recruitment partners, providing community-led interim and permanent talent solutions to regulated businesses across the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, and the US. Our specialist consultants focus on mid to senior and board-level appointments across Finance, Accounting and Audit, Risk, Compliance, Fund and Operations, Financial Crime and Fraud, and Legal and CoSec.

Reach out to our very own Gareth James for more insights.