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96% of Ireland’s financial services sector believes that financial regulators should take competition and consumer choice into account when formulating regulatory policy, according to our recent survey.

We polled more than 150 senior banking and financial services professionals at our webinar, Consolidation in Financial Services – Is bigger better? The event focused on the outlook for financial sector mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Ireland and Europe in 2023.

Liam Flynn, Partner & Co-Head of our Financial Regulation team, said: “Our survey findings are significant, since the Central Bank of Ireland has no statutory mandate to foster growth, competition or consumer choice. It is entirely focused on financial stability and consumer protection.”

The panel discussed the outlook for bank consolidation in Ireland and agreed that further activity in 2023 is unlikely.

The most active sectors are likely, as in 2022, to be fund services/administration and insurance broking. These sectors are less heavily regulated than the banking sector, and this factor may encourage deal activity.

Almost all survey respondents (94%) said that regulatory policy is a significant driver or deterrent of consolidation. The survey also found that most respondents (77%) believed financial sector consolidation in Ireland this year would either be more than (42%) or similar to 2022 levels (35%).

Liam Flynn added: “There is a serious lack of consumer choice in Ireland’s financial sector, and ongoing consolidation is making the situation worse. The problem calls for a public policy response that encourages new market entrants, but there is little evidence at Government and CBI level that the message is getting through.”

For more information contact a member of our Financial Regulation team, or read the coverage of the survey results by Irish Legal News.

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