On 30 November 2023, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) imposed fines of over £150,000 combined on three money transfer firms for price fixing in Glasgow. The firms received settlement discounts for admitting to the FCA that they had broken competition law. Separately, the FCA also wrote to other money transfer firms in Glasgow to remind them of their obligations under competition law.
A non-confidential version of the decision will be published in due course.
Sharing commercially sensitive information remains a significant issue in the financial services sector, because there are instances where information arguably needs to be shared, so being able to determine what exchanges may be anti-competitive is key. The CMA provided some clarification on what constitutes anti-competitive information exchange in its recently published Horizontal Agreements Guidance from August 2023 – Section 8. Arguably, the CMA has not gone far enough, so businesses need to carefully assess their practices and determine if their conduct may infringe the competition rules. Not least, the role of ‘facilitation’ remains an import factor for businesses to beware of and the competition authorities are continuously clamping down on businesses that help facilitate collusion.
If you have any questions about these types of competition law issues, please get in touch with Saskia King.