The Minister for Finance, Mr Brian Lenihan TD, today (12th, June,2009) announced that the Government had approved the publication of the Financial Measures (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2009. The Bill consists of the following provisions:
- Amendment of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008 to facilitate longer-term debt issuance by participating institutions of up to 5 years maturity in accordance with the Minister’s Supplementary Budget Statement on 7 April. Access to longer-term funding in line with the mainstream approach in the EU will contribute significantly to supporting the funding needs of the participating institutions, to securing their continued stability and also to enhancing their potential to discharge their central role in facilitating economic activity. The introduction of a Scheme to guarantee certain debt securities beyond 29 September 2010 requires Oireachtas approval under section 6 (4) of the Act and EU State aid approval.
- A technical provision to provide legal certainty that all existing direct debit mandates (over 100 million a year) will continue to have effect when transferred from the Irish direct debit scheme to the new pan-European SEPA scheme from the beginning of November onwards. Industry and consumers need this clarity well in advance of the 1 November deadline. Otherwise there would be major disruption to cash-flows for utilities (ESB, Bord Gáis etc), insurance companies, mortgage providers, clubs etc. This provision will help to avoid a considerable and unnecessary administrative burden on consumers and businesses if these mandates had to be individually re-signed to enable migration to occur.
- A provision for the transfer of the pension fund assets in the Universities and certain State Bodies to the National Pension Reserve Fund, which gives effect to the announcement in the Supplementary Budget. These assets will be managed by the NTMA as part of the Reserve Fund. After the transfer, the pensions in those Bodies will be met on a pay-as-you-go basis. It is intended that the transfers will take place in 2009 and 2010.
- A provision making technical amendments to the Prospectus Directive Regulations 2005 and the Investment Funds, Companies and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2005 in order to protect the Exchequer by removing the requirement to take responsibility for, and legal liability on the Minister for Finance as guarantor of certain debt securities in relation to the accuracy of, information contained in prospectuses that relate to such securities.
- An amendment to the Central Bank Act 1989 to clarify that any acquisition coming within the scope of the Directive 2007/44/EC on the Prudential Assessment of Acquisitions in the Financial Sector will not also be subject to the provisions of that Act.
- Amendments to the Insurance (No 2) Act 1983 and the Insurance Act 1989 will address a regulatory gap. Currently the Financial Regulator can present a petition to the High Court for the administration of a non-life insurance undertaking and the appointment of an administrator. There is no similar provision for life and reinsurance companies and this provision will address that deficiency.
- A technical amendment to the Netting of Financial Contracts Act 1995 that clarifies the application of that Act for netting agreements where one party to the agreement has created a security interest in favour of a third party.
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