Corporate Enforcement Authority Publishes First Annual Report

The Corporate Enforcement Authority (CEA) has published its first Annual Report. The Report, covers provides a comprehensive account of the steps taken to establish the CEA’s presence, and of the work undertaken to build the organisation’s operational capability. The Report cover the 18 month period from July 2022 to December 2023, due to the relevant provisions of the establishing legislation.

The Report includes 17 case studies that illustrate the breadth of the CEA’s impact and demonstrate a considered and graduated approach towards the deployment of enforcement powers. In adopting this approach, the CEA:

  • Ensures compliance, and the rectification of non-compliance, with the procedural, governance, and transparency requirements of company law,
  • Assists stakeholders in vindicating their rights under company law,
  • Protects the public through the operation of a restriction and disqualification undertakings regime in respect of directors of insolvent companies,
  • Protects the public through robustly testing and challenging applications for relief from director restriction and disqualification, and
  • Investigates indications of potentially serious wrongdoing under company law and, as appropriate, takes both civil and criminal enforcement action.

During the period covered by the Report, the CEA:

  • Published nine information books and five information notes for stakeholders’ benefit,
  • Received over 470 complaints from members of the public, as well as over 300 statutory reports from auditors, examiners, and process advisors,
  • Received over 1,000 statutory reports from liquidators in respect of insolvent companies and the behaviour of those companies’ directors,
  • Secured the restriction of 80 company directors and the disqualification of a further 27 company directors,
  • Secured 107 court orders and five search warrants, took 213 witness statements, and effected 12 arrests, and
  • Submitted 12 files to the Director of Public Prosecutions and secured criminal convictions in respect of failing to keep proper books of account and providing false information.

Marking the publication of the Report, the CEA’s CEO, Ian Drennan commented: “During our first 18 months, the advantages of being a standalone agency, particularly the flexibility it offers, have been clear. We secured our own recruitment license, allowing us to run tailored recruitment campaigns. While some of our work is high profile, much happens behind the scenes, benefiting all stakeholders in company law.

We empower stakeholders through accurate, impartial information and outreach activities. Over the period, we issued information notes on topics such as early warning tools and the risks of accepting company directorships. We ensure compliance with a proportionate approach, using statutory powers only when necessary. We executed over 100 court orders, five search warrants, took over 200 witness statements, and made 12 arrests.

Our supervision of the corporate insolvency process involved examining hundreds of liquidators’ reports, resulting in 80 directors being restricted and 17 disqualified. These measures protect the public and improve corporate governance.

One core objective is establishing the CEA’s presence. The success of our first CEA conference, featuring speakers like Minister Dara Calleary and Attorney General Rossa Fanning, SC, was a highlight. Based on positive feedback, we plan to make it an annual event, with planning for the 2024 conference well underway.”

The CEA’s first Annual Report can be accessed here.