Q4 proved to be an active quarter for competition fines and enforcement activity, with fines imposed by the European Commission and national competition authorities for illegal behaviour such as cartel involvement and abuse of dominance.
In October, fines were imposed on international banks in two cartel cases:
- UBS, JP Morgan and Credit Suisse were fined over €32m in total for involvement in a cartel on bid-ask spreads of Swiss franc interest rate derivatives.
- In a separate cartel, RBS and JP Morgan were found to have colluded to influence the Swiss franc LIBOR benchmark rate.
October also saw a fine of €38.8m imposed on Slovak Telekom and its parent Deutsche Telecom for abuse of dominance on the Slovak broadband market.
Margrethe Vestager took over as Competition Commissioner in November, and imposed her first cartel fine the next month - €19.4m on five envelope producers for co-ordinating prices and allocating customers
Within the UK
No fines were imposed this quarter, but several market investigations have reached important milestones, highlighting sectors where competition concerns may be present.
In its investigation into the payday lending market, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a provisional decision on the package of remedies required to countermeasure concerns.
The CMA has also published a report on its market study on residential property management services that lead to poor outcomes for leaseholders.