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First FCA decision under Competition Law

While competition law in Australia has been bolstered with harsher penalties, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) just made their first decision under their own competition law against three asset management firms for cartel conduct.

FCA has fined Hargreave Hale £306,300 (approximately AUD560,000) and River and Mercantile Assets Management £108,600 (almost AUD200,000), while Newton Investment has been granted immunity under the leniency policy. The leniency policy is enacted if the company involved in the cartel conduct reports the cartel conduct and assists the UK regulator in their investigation.

The FCA’s decision comes just one year after the they signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) to further solidify their concurrent enforcement powers under the Competition Act 1998.

“This is our first case using our competition law powers and demonstrates our commitment to taking enforcement action to protect competition. Asset management firms must take care to avoid undermining how prices are properly set for shares in both IPOs and placings. Failure to do so risks them acting illegally. The FCA will act when markets that play a vital role in helping companies raise capital in the UK’s financial markets are put at risk. We can also take regulatory action against an individual and did so here with respect to some of the same facts,” Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA Christopher Woolard said.

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