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FAQs on the Administrative Board of Review

Q1: What is the purpose of the Administrative Board of Review (ABoR) and what are the benefits of an ABoR review?

The ABoR procedure gives banks or individuals the possibility to swiftly get a new ECB supervisory decision if they disagree with the original decision issued to them. The review process is quick, confidential and inexpensive. The ECB, its Supervisory Board and Governing Council will always issue a new decision based on the ABoR’s opinion. The ABoR’s opinion includes a comprehensive assessment of the claims and arguments of the applicant.

The interview of 17 May 2023 with Pentti Hakkarainen, Chair of the Administrative Board of Review, entitled “ABoR: quick, inexpensive and confidential review of supervisory decisions” provides further details.

Q2: Who can ask for an ABoR review?

Banks or individuals issued with an ECB supervisory decision can ask the ABoR to review it. In addition, anyone directly and individually concerned by such a decision is an eligible applicant. Consumer complaints are handled by the relevant consumer protection authorities rather than the ABoR.

Q3: What is the scope of an ABoR review?

The ABoR’s scope is wide and covers all areas of European banking supervision. The ABoR has reviewed cases involving the significance of banks for the purposes of European banking supervision, the scope of consolidated supervision, breaches of prudential rules such as large exposure limits, corporate governance rules, fit and proper assessments, supervisory measures based on national laws, the withdrawal of banking licences, sanctions, the acquisition of qualified holdings, the use of internal models and on-site inspections.

The ABoR can check procedural compliance, for example whether the ECB has complied with the relevant rules, whether an applicant’s right to be heard has been respected or whether the reasoning supporting an ECB decision is adequate.

The ABoR’s review focuses on the claims and grounds raised by the applicant and on breaches of essential procedural requirements.

Q4: When can a review be requested?

A review can be requested within one month after the ECB decision is communicated. The grounds on which the request is based must be specified and documents submitted as evidence. For further details, please refer to the ABoR operating rules.

Q5: How quickly can a new ECB decision be obtained?

The ABoR will deliver its opinion to the Supervisory Board within two months at the latest and the new ECB decision will be issued approximately two months after that.

Q6: What language is used in ABoR proceedings?

English has been used in almost all cases so far. However, all official EU languages are allowed and the applicant may choose to use their own language. As the ABoR operates in English, other languages will be translated into English during the process.

Q7: Does an ECB decision need to be reviewed by the ABoR before being challenged before the Court of Justice of the European Union?

No, an applicant can choose to bring an action before the Court of Justice directly. If an applicant chooses to request an ABoR review and then decides to contest the second decision, it should submit a request to the Court of Justice to review the second, post-ABoR decision.

Q8: Is it possible to become familiar with the ABoR’s jurisprudence despite the non-public nature of its proceedings?

Yes, a comprehensive document entitled The ABoR: Eight years of experience reviewing ECB supervisory decisions summarises, with the reference date September 2022, matters considered by the ABoR.

Q9: Does the ABoR arrange an oral hearing?

An oral hearing is not obligatory, but the ABoR will arrange one if it considers this necessary for the fair evaluation of a review.

Q10: Can the ABoR amend an ECB decision?

No, but the ABoR provides an opinion proposing that the contested decision should be upheld, amended or abrogated. The addressee of the opinion is the ECB, which must then take the opinion into account when reassessing the matter and reaching a new decision.

Q11: What does an ABoR review cost?

The costs involved in requesting an ABoR review are marginal, excluding the applicant’s own work or use of external lawyers. Applicants can in fact receive reimbursement for costs incurred up to €50,000 if the new ECB decision abrogates or amends the contested decision. If the new decision is the same as the original decision, the applicant must pay the ECB €500 (for a natural person) or €5,000 (for a legal person).

For further details please refer to the Methodology for the apportionment of the costs annexed to the ABoR operating rules.

Q12: Is the ABoR’s review independent?

The ABoR is independent and impartial in its decision making. The ABoR comprises highly reputable persons with supervisory and regulatory experience in the fields of banking or other financial services. The ECB Governing Council appoints five members and two alternates for a fixed five-year term. Members are independent of ECB Banking Supervision and its decisions and are not employees of the ECB or of any national banking supervisory authority. ABoR members must act with independence and in the public interest.

Oznámení porušení předpisů (whistleblowing)