On 21 September 2018, the European Central Bank (ECB) published its guide to on-site inspections and internal model investigations (the Guide). The Guide acts as a reference document for the supervised entities and other legal entities for which the ECB has decided to launch an on-site inspection of. The Guide applies to inspections conducted in (i) significant institutions; (ii) less significant institutions, when the ECB decides to exercise directly all the relevant supervisory powers for a less significant entity; and (iii) other legal entities as referred to in article 10(1) of the Single Supervisory Mechanism Regulation.

The Guide is not a legally binding document and does not replace the legal requirements for inspections laid down under EU law.

As well as setting out the general framework for inspections (chapter 1), and the applicable principles for inspections (chapter 3), the Guide also describes an eight-stage inspection process (chapter 2) – the components of which are set out in simplified diagram on page 9 of the Guide.