The Cabinet has approved a Bill which introduces new measures on responsibility for conduct for those working in the financial services industry.

The Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) Bill will set out rules with which employees in banks and investment funds will have to comply.

When the Bill is enacted, the Central Bank will incorporate it into its regulatory work.

It's expected to take four to six months to pass into legislation.

The new Individual Accountability Framework is expected to be up and running within the next 18 months.

Speaking this afternoon, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the changes to Central Bank legislation will put individual accountability at the centre of decision making in financial services organisations.

"The provisions will ensure that there is clarity around the roles and functions of senior executives," he said.

This new legislation will broaden out the scope of the Senior Executive Accountability Regime (SEAR) to include a wider range of staff who are involved in different roles with customers as well as more senior positions.

It will also mean that individuals can be held to account for breaking market rules without the Central Bank having to establish if their firm is also at fault.

Sanctions will include fines and disbarment from future employment in the sector.

The aim of the framework is to ensure that customers benefit from financial service providers that are fully accountable for the level of service and advice they provide and that employees of financial institutions will benefit from having greater clarity as to their exact roles and responsibilities.

It also promises that employees will be empowered to speak up when they see failings.

"Ultimately a key challenge will be the rebuilding of trust in the financial sector," the Minister said.

The chief executive of Banking and Payments Federation Ireland said its member banks "fully support the introduction of an individual accountability framework as part of a wider goal to develop the highest possible standards of conduct and culture across the banking sector."

The Central Bank of Ireland welcomed today's publication of the Bill.

As Director General Financial Conduct, Derville Rowland, said culture is developed and evolves within individual firms.

"As regulators, we cannot prescribe or mandate a culture for firms.

"We can, however, monitor, assess and seek to influence culture within firms in order to guard against conduct risk and drive better outcomes for consumers and investors," she said.

Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland Chief Executive Francesca McDonagh said a strong culture of accountability benefits all their stakeholders from customers to colleagues, shareholders, regulators and wider society.

"This is why we support reforms that promote individual accountability, and which give senior executives greater clarity as to their responsibilities and how they should discharge them," she said.