Central Bank fines investor services firm Computershare €322,500

The Central Bank has fined the Irish arm of international investor services company Computershare €322,500 for a number of breaches of legislation with regard to client assets.

Among other things, the firm manages share registrars for publicly owned companies.

The Central Bank said the fine related to certainty of ownership of client assets, as set out in the Client Asset Requirements (CAR), and access to client assets in the event of Computershare’s insolvency.

The daily average of the aggregate value of client assets affected by the breaches was €4.4m, it added.

“For 21 months, between 2011 and 2013, the firm breached key provisions of the CAR regarding certainty of ownership of client assets relating to a specific service which it provided,” said Derville Rowland, director of enforcement at the Central Bank.

“The firm did not arrange for the registration of the registrable client financial instruments in the name of the client or in the name of an eligible nominee, or obtain the required acknowledgement letters regarding those assets.”

The Central Bank — which also reprimanded Computershare over the breaches — added in the event of the company becoming insolvent, its non-compliance could have resulted in the delay in returning client assets.

The exposure of client assets to potential delay can lead to a risk consumers may lose access to their assets for a period, which can lead to a loss of investment opportunity and consumer disruption.

The CAR was designed to avoid such situations and to ensure the cost-effective return of assets to clients in the event of the insolvency of a regulated firm, the regulator added.

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