Aside from this case, however, there are many situations in the financial services sector where it is not clear whether proposed commercial behaviour (such as co-operation between financial institutions) could be anti-competitive.
Aside from the inherent complexity of financial markets, the sector depends to a large degree on co-operation; the classic example being a requirement for insurers to enter “pools” and to share risk data.
The Commission has moved to emphasise that financial markets such as these require transparency and healthy competition.
These ingredients are seen as essential to restoring trust in the financial sector and also as an essential component for a successful and sustained recovery of the European economy.
They derive their value from the level of a benchmark interest rate, such as the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) – which is used for various currencies including the Japanese yen (JPY) - or the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR), for the euro.
These benchmarks reflect an average of the quotes submitted daily by a number of banks who are members of a panel (panel banks).
There are specific rules addressing these forms of behaviour which are in themselves far from straightforward and require significant legal expertise.
This case shows, however, that financial markets are a keen focus of competition regulators (indeed, in the UK they are the focus of the EU Commission, the CMA and the FCA) and it is important for organisations to have their finger on the button in terms of the operational practices within their organisation.
The European Commission fined JP Morgan (€337 million), Crédit Agricole (€114 million) and HSBC (€33 million) on 7 December for participating in a cartel in euro interest rate derivatives initially unveiled in December 2013. forward rate agreements, swaps, futures, options) are financial products which are used by banks or companies for managing the risk of interest rate fluctuations.
These products are traded worldwide and play a key role in the global economy.
Music reviews with Joe Food and Mark Perkins 2nd week: Exposed on Food.