Competition law

How we use our competition law powers.

We have powers to enforce EU and UK competition law regarding the provision of financial services.

Competition law forbids:

  • cartels and other potentially anti-competitive agreements, and
  • abuse of a dominant position

Examples of cartels include agreements to fix prices or share markets. Examples of other potentially anti-competitive agreements include a distributor agreeing with its supplier not to sell below a particular price.

Examples of abuse of a dominant position include a dominant business charging prices so low they do not cover the costs of the product or service sold, with the aim of driving out competitors and then increasing prices again. Or, refusing to supply an existing or long-standing customer without objective justification.

The competition law annex in the Fair and Effective Markets Review provides more information on the types of conduct forbidden under competition law and when a firm might hold a dominant position. 

In the UK, these competition powers may also be used by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in all sectors of the economy, including financial services. This means that for financial services the CMA and the FCA have ‘concurrent powers’ and the FCA is a ‘concurrent regulator’. See our published guidance on how we use our competition powers: FG15/8 - FCA's powers and procedures under the Competition Act 1998.

These powers are additional to our ability to use Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) powers in pursuit of our competition objective.

Duty to self-report

Regulated firms should bring their own actual and possible contraventions to the FCA’s attention, as they are obliged to do under Principle 11 of the Principles for Businesses and rules in our Supervision manual. See our Policy Statement (PS15/18).

Leniency

Under leniency arrangements, those who have participated in cartel activity can choose to give detailed confessions of their infringements in return for significant reductions or complete immunity from penalties for that infringement. We expect leniency applications to be made directly to the CMA. See our guidance on how we use our competition powers: FG15/8 - FCA's powers and procedures under the Competition Act 1998.

Report competition law infringements

We welcome information from industry participants, representative groups and the public about practices/conduct that may infringe competition law.

To open an investigation under the Competition Act 1998 (CA98) we need to decide whether: 

  • there are reasonable grounds to suspect an infringement of CA98, and
  • it is appropriate to allocate resources to a case

We will review your complaint, reach a decision on whether or not to open an investigation and notify you of our decision.

All information we receive will be handled in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and other legislation designed to protect individual privacy and commercial confidentiality. You may contact us by email if you have any questions or concerns.

Submit a report