Zenith CC&P Current Awareness

Financial Conduct Authority issues first competition fines

28 February 2019

Prof. Suzanne Rab

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued its first ever competition law infringement decision, imposing fines on two asset management firms for unlawful information exchange in breach of the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 101 TFEU.

The decision comes almost four years after the FCA obtained concurrent competition law powers in April 2015.

The FCA imposed a fine of GBP306,300 on Hargreave Hale and a fine of GBP108,600 on River and Mercantile Asset Management.  Newton Investment Management as the leniency applicant escaped a penalty.

The FCA found that the three firms shared strategic information bilaterally, including on their bidding intentions for public offerings and placings and which undermined a competitive bidding process.

The decision shows that the FCA will use its competition enforcement powers.  Even before this decision the FCA has had a number of competition law investigations underway, although they have not been concluded with final enforcement action and penalties.

An unusual feature of this case was the FCA’s parallel enforcement action under financial services sector regulation arising out of the same facts.  Earlier in February 2019 the FCA imposed a GBP32,2000 fine on Paul Stephany, formerly a manager of Newton Investment Management, for his role in the arrangements.

Current Awareness

By the CC&P team