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Don’t blur the line on regulation and competition

Giving the Financial Conduct Authority a primary competition objective would blur the line between regulators and the competition authorities and should be avoided, says Nationwide Building Society.

The FCA is to have a duty to promote competition as long as it is compatible with its primary objective of protecting and enhancing confidence in the financial system and its secondary objectives of ensuring consumer protection, market integrity and efficiency and choice.

The Treasury select committee and the Independent Commission on Banking are both calling for the conduct regulator to have a primary competition duty.

Giving evidence to the select committee last week, Nationwide chief executive Graham Beale said a responsibility to foster competition is already inherent in the FCA’s primary and secondary objectives. He said: “The set-up of the FCA will appropriately address competition considerations as it is and we have got established bodies with principal responsibility for competition, so I am not sure what a primary competition objective would add.”

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