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Jessica Fino 29 Nov 2017 12:38pm

FCA accuses asset management firms of breaking competition law

The financial watchdog has accused four asset management firms of breaking competition law, in the first case demonstrating its enforcement powers on the issue

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a statement of objections to Artemis Investment Management, Hargreave Hale, Newton Investment Management and River & Mercantile Asset Management after accusing them of sharing information before initial public offerings (IPOs) took place.

The firms are being accused of disclosing the price they intended to pay to one or more of two IPOs and one placing, shortly before the share prices were set.

The FCA explained that the sharing generally occurred on a bilateral basis and allowed firms to know the others’ plans during the IPO or placing process when they should have been competing for shares.

According to the statement, Newton Investment, Hargreave Hale and River & Mercantile Asset disclosed or accepted information about the price they intended to pay for shares in relation to one IPO and a placing.

One year before, Artemis Investment and Newton shared information about the price they intended or were willing to pay for shares in relation to another IPO.

All four firms have now had the opportunity to respond by making written and oral representations.

The watchdog said, “The FCA will carefully consider any representations from the firms before deciding whether the law has been broken.

“The statement of objections will not be made public, however any final decision taken will be published providing more detail about the case.”

It added that the final decision will be taken by a three-member competition decision committee, which is separate from the case investigation team and is not involved in the decision to issue the statement of objections.

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