Welcome to Issue 2 of the GT FS Download. This issue summarises the current hot topics across the Financial Services sector in Ireland.

Asset Management 

Asset financing

The asset financing sector is a dynamic market and one that has seen significant growth over the past five years. With more and more flexible financial solutions being provided by alternative lenders, we are seeing a shift in the tide from the pillar banks.

Irish Real Estate Fund (“IREF”) Returns

The deadline for filing IREF returns for years ending July – December 2020 is on or before 30 July 2021. In June 2021, Revenue released an updated Form IREF which requires taxpayers to disclose additional information this year in comparison to prior years. 

Banking

AML Bulletin – Updated Central Bank of Ireland AML/CFT Guidelines for 2021

In June this year, the Central Bank of Ireland (‘CBI’) issued an updated revision of their guidelines on Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (‘AML/CFT’) for the financial sector.

Recovery and Resolution Planning for CCPs

 Since the introduction of new obligations for derivatives markets under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation ("EMIR") in 2012, alongside equivalent regulations in the US and Asia, central counterparties ("CCPs") have continued to grow in systemic importance and play an essential role in the global financial system, accentuating the G20's commitment to ensure there is more transparency and stability for the financial system. 

Insurance

The climate change crisis – innovative insurance solutions required

Recent natural disasters, such as the catastrophic and tragic flooding in Germany and neighbouring countries are making it increasingly difficult to ignore the new reality of multi-billion-dollar loss events occurring with increased frequency and severity.

Central Bank of Ireland Insurance Updates

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has published its final report into differential pricing in the home and motor insurance markets in Ireland. 

European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)

EIOPA has publish a report from its consultative expert group on digital ethics setting out artificial intelligence (AI) governance principles for an ethical and trustworthy AI in the European insurance sector. 

Digitalisation in the insurance intermediary market

The complete picture of the lasting impacts from a macroeconomic perspective of the COVID-19 pandemic are still emerging but a few things are clear - customer needs, expectations and buying habits have changed, businesses need to run digitally in order to survive and increased operational efficiencies will be vital to meet these new expectations.

Criminal Justice (Perjury and Related Offences) Act 2021

The Criminal Justice (Perjury and Related Offences) Act has been signed into law by the president. This act will see individuals who are proven to have misinformed the courts or exaggerated losses, injuries, or damages facing the prospect of prosecution. 

With maximum sentences of 10 years in prison and fines of up to €100,000, these measures should act as a deterrent to individuals to get involved in future fraudulent or inflated claims and an excellent tool for the judiciary to use against individuals involved in fraudulent or inflated claims.

Individuals such as claimants, legal professionals and other expert witnesses need to consider implications of getting involved with fraudulent or inflated claims. For the insurance industry, it is a welcome piece of legislation to help in the fight against the claims culture slipping into Irish society and also to tackle insurance fraud.

The new personal injury claim guidelines is facing its first test 

The recent adoption of the Personal Injury Guidelines by the Judicial Council is to face a number of test cases in the coming months. To date, two cases have been filed in the High Court in which declarations are sought that sections of the Judicial Council Act are unconstitutional, with another case seeking similar declarations expected shortly. 

Environmental, Social and Governance

ESG in risk management and supervision: another step in the sustainability journey

While 2021 has seen a focus on climate change like never before, the wider topic of sustainability and the integration of sustainability-related risks is also high on the regulatory agenda for banks and investment firms . Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations are both all-encompassing and a permanent part of financial services activities, transformation, and risk management.

The Road to COP26 

The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1-12 November 2021. The summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Green Team Network are covering the distance from Dublin to Glasgow (c.400km) to raise awareness for climate change and encourage everyone to #ThinkGreenActGreen

Grant Thornton is proud to support the Green Team Network Summer Challenge - the "ROAD TO COP26". We hope as many as possible of you will travel with the Green Team Network between now and COP26 Glasgow. Are you willing to cover this distance either individually or collectively by making up your Green Team (rope in friends, family, colleagues, your dog!)? All eco-friendly travel methods allowed!

General FS Updates 

Irish Transfer Pricing Documentation – What do you need to know?

Revenue published TP guidance in February 2021 (Part 35A-01-01 of the Tax and Duty Manual) which provides additional details for taxpayers on how the rules will apply. One of the main aspects of the updated guidance is in respect of TP documentation and the requirements to be satisfied in order to comply with the new rules.

Anti-Reverse Hybrid Rule

The first part of the anti-hybrid rules was introduced in Finance Act 2019, as required by the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directives (ATAD) and ATAD2. This Feedback Statement considers the remaining part of the rules, dealing with reverse hybrid mismatches dealt with in Article 9a of the ATAD as inserted by ATAD2, which must be implemented by 1 January 2022. 

Interest Limitation Ratio

The Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) requires Member States to introduce an interest limitation rule (ILR) to limit base erosion through the use of interest expenses to create excessive interest deductions. The ILR aims to limit the maximum net deduction to 30% of earnings before tax and before deductions for net interest expense, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

DAC 6 Reminder

With the DAC 6 reporting deadlines for cross border transactions that took place between the 25 June 2018 and 31 December 2020 having passed it is important to remember that all reportable cross border arrangements are now due for reporting within 30 days after a reporting obligation is triggered. Further to this two new sections have been added to the Corporation Tax Return which require completion in the event of reportable transaction

  1. Reporting of the number assigned by Revenue to the reportable transaction.
  2. Reporting of the number assigned to the reportable tax transaction by a relevant tax authority.

The GT5K

The Virtual GT5K will return this September. We want to keep our workforces healthy and running and we hope you’ll all be able to join us this year, wherever you are in Ireland or the world.

This year we’re asking you to #DoItForDementia as the registration fee will be split between The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland and supporting up and coming Athletes in Athletics Ireland’s junior programmes.