Financial Services And Competition Law In The United Kingdom: The Quest For Pro-Competitive Objectives And Suitable Tools

Emanuela Lecchi, Jul 28, 2011

In the United Kingdom, the debate on competition and financial services has focused lately on a fairly esoteric discussion about whether one of the new envisaged regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”), should or should not have competition as a “primary objective.” In this article we aim to clarify the terms of this debate. We provide first an overview of past competition enforcement activities in the financial services (I) and then turn to the proposed options for reform, which purport to promote both competition and stability in the sector (II). In this latter respect, we focus on the creation of the FCA and, in particular, on the indeterminacy of its powers (III).