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.”