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OFT fines RBS £28.5m for breaching competition law

The Office of Fair Trading has fined the Royal Bank of Scotland £28.59m for disclosing pricing information to Barclays between October 2007 and February/March 2008. 

The fine was reduced from £33.6m due to the bank’s admission and co-operation with the regulator. 

OFT’s investigation found that individuals in RBS’ professional practices coverage team had unilaterally disclosed generic as well as specific confidential future pricing information about loan products to their counterparts at Barclays bank. It also found evidence that the information was taken into account by Barclays in determining its own pricing. RBS had also supplied specific confidential future pricing information relating to two proposed loan facilities.

The disclosures took place on the fringes of social, client or industry events or through telephone conversations.  

The matter was brought to the OFT’s attention by Barclays under the OFT’s leniency policy, where a company which is the first to report its participation in an infringement may qualify for immunity from penalties. If it continues to co-operate, Barclays is not expected to be fined.   

OFT senior director of cartels and criminal enforcement Ali Nikpay says: “Any company that discloses confidential future pricing information to its competitors risks a substantial penalty. It is important that companies operating in the UK understand the seriousness of such conduct and ensure effective competition compliance throughout their organisation.” 

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Comments

There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. … why, oh why is the FSA chasing ‘struggling’ IFAs for penalties .. when clearly banks are a MUCH larger (and may I add easier) target … and with more funds available (esp if now ‘owned’ by the public) … …

    Tch.

    Won’t be long before we get a similar story elsewhere within the sector … …

  2. Well done OFT for issuing a fine against the RBS, remind me again who owns this bank? Of course its us tax-payers that will have to stump up to pay the bloody thing! And we thought it was only the FSA that did stupid things?

  3. A Nuthernon E Mouse 30th March 2010 at 10:29 am

    And isn’t the OFT fining the individuals as well as the bank? If they did that, it would send a message throughout industry and commerce.

    It would probably stop the supermarkets rigging prices too (has anyone else noticed how they take it in turns to “promote” products?)…

    And Barclays should pay something, even if it’s not such a heavy fine. I am disgusted that the wrong-doer who first blows the whistle gets off free and clear.

  4. One wonders about parallels with the obviously cosy relationship enjoyed by the banks and the FSA whilst the rest of us are regularly shafted by unjust and totally disproportionate regulatory persecution.

  5. Whatever one thinks of the rights and wrongs of this case, the underlying concern must the increasing number of non-judicial bodies that have power to levy fines.

    Unlike the judiciary, these bodies are often linked closely to the Government and are not visibly free from executive control.

  6. Who will this hurt?
    RBS? No Barclays? No The taxpayer? Yes!
    what a load of garbage. what happens to the £28M? Probably just pays for more bureacracy.I agree with the poster at 12.30 there are too many non judicial quangos able to levy fines.Is this supposed to make the public feel better? safer? Why should the banks care about a fine when the expense is simply passed on to the consumer? What a farce.

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