Explore UCD

UCD Home >

Deirdre Norris

Deirdre Norris

Thesis Title:

Emerging Regulatory Frameworks – impact of disruptive technologies in Financial Services


Prof James Devenney, McCann FitzGerald Chair of International Law and Business at University College Dublin


Financial services regulators are constantly under pressure to keep up to speed with rapid technological advancements. From innovations like digital ledger technology, e.g. Blockchain, and crypto-currencies to technology companies entering the financial services market offering customers financial products, regulators continuously have to understand and analyse the implications of market developments. In addition financial regulators face the challenge of the financial services industry assessing regulation negatively as ‘draconian’ due to the high cost and additional administration and compliance requirements that can impact innovation and growth. Post the 2008 Global Financial Crises (GFC) the implications for the regulation of ‘new players’ (the technology companies) moving into the financial services market, are adding to this debate. The challenge for financial services regulation is to design laws that encourage innovation while protecting customers and investors. This research will consider regulatory cycles - peaks and troughs - of regulatory activity and how regulatory frameworks emerge. Most regulatory frameworks emerge post crises and are reactive but there is more evidence of regulators engaging with industry in advance of regulatory developments and this approach may be more effective. This study will identify effective regulatory tools over the past 20 years which have shaped the financial services sector using both qualitative and quantitative methods. It will examine, from an historical perspective, the evolution of financial services regulation form three angles – rule making, implementation and enforcement.  It will apply comparative analysis using a global perspective, with Ireland as a case study, examining traditional financial services hubs in Europe and the US against developing countries and outliers. It will investigate how effective the current financial services regulatory framework is in dealing with disruptive technologies like crypto-currencies and digital ledger offerings (Blockchain, Ethereum etc) by mapping the current legislation to see what fits and identify gaps. The research is interdisciplinary as it considers legislation, the economy and the political climate.


Deirdre is the  ERC Project Manager in the Sutherland School of Law, having previously held the position of Research and Innovation Manager. She joined the Effective Nature Laws team in June 2018. Deirdre is a graduate of UCD, having obtained a BA in Economics and MSc in Environmental Management. She spent over 10 years working in the financial services sector and has recently become a PhD candidate in the Sutherland School of Law, focusing on the impact of disruptive technologies in financial services regulations.

Previously Deirdre has worked on a number of research projects including ‘A comparative analysis of transnational private regulation: legitimacy, quality, effectiveness and enforcement’ funded by the Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law and ‘Listed Companies’ Engagement with Diversity: A Multi-Jurisdictional Study of Annual Report Disclosures’ with Trinity College Dublin.

Presentations and/or Publications:

UCD Sutherland School of Law

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.