OFT fines RBS £28.6m

The Office of Fair Trading has fined Royal Bank of Scotland £28.59m after it engaged in anti-competitive practices with Barclays.

A statement from the OFT says the fine is in relation to the pricing of loan products to large professional services firms.

It says Barclays blew the whistle on the practices, which is why it opted not to fine the firm under its “leniency policy”.

Between October 2007 and February or March of 2008 individuals in RBS’s professional practices coverage team disclosed generic as well as specific confidential and commercially sensitive future pricing information to their counterparts at Barclays, it says.

OFT senior director of cartels and criminal enforcement Ali Nikpay says: “The disclosure of confidential future pricing information to competitors is unlawful.

“This decision sends out a strong message that such practices, even where they arise in the context of informal contacts between competitors, can result in substantial penalties for the companies involved. It is therefore important that companies take steps to ensure an effective compliance culture that is understood by individuals throughout their organisation.”

The OFT says a full decision on the case is expected to be published on its website later this year following the redaction of commercially sensitive information.