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Release Date: 21st February 2019

To access the original FCA document, click here.


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued its first decision under competition law, finding that Hargreave Hale Ltd, Newton Investment Management Limited, and River and Mercantile Asset Management LLP (RAMAM) breached competition law. Hargreave Hale was fined £306,300, and RAMAM £108,600, while Newton received immunity under the competition leniency programme and was not fined.

The infringements occurred during the book-building process of one initial public offering (IPO) and one placing in 2015. The firms exchanged strategic information, including confidential bidding intentions such as price and volume, which should have been kept confidential. This behaviour undermined the competitive process by reducing the pressure to bid according to the actual value perceived, potentially lowering the share price and raising the cost of equity capital for the issuing company.

Key Takeaways for Other Firms:

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, emphasised the importance of protecting competition in the primary capital markets, which play a crucial role in raising capital in the UK’s financial markets. He highlighted that the FCA would act decisively when these markets are put at risk.

In conclusion, this enforcement action by the FCA underlines the necessity for firms to adhere strictly to competition laws, ensuring that market integrity is maintained during crucial financial processes such as IPOs and placings. Compliance with these regulations is essential to avoid substantial fines and maintain fair competition.

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