FCA reviews bank competition

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BRitain’s financial watchdog will launch its first review of competition in investment banking and corporate banking services, saying the benefits of improvements could be high.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that banks that were bundling and cross-selling their services could be making it difficult for new entrants to compete.

“Within this market study, we will focus on the impact of transparency and bundling on competition for investment banking and corporate banking services,” it said in a statement.

“This is an appropriate market study because the benefit from improvements in the way competition works could be high,” it added.

The watchdog said limited clarity over price and quality of services may make it difficult for customers to see if they were getting value for money.

“The UK is a global hub for investment banking, and this sector plays a crucial role in our economy, helping companies raise capital for investment, expansion and funding ongoing operations,” said Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition at the FCA.

“What was clear from the discussions we had with stakeholders and firms was that there are unanswered questions about potential conflicts of interest and value for money in this market,” he added.

The review will dovetail with the Fair and Effective Markets Review of conduct in commodity, currency and bond markets by the FCA, the Bank of England and British government, launched after banks were caught trying to rig interest rate and currency market benchmarks.

Terms of reference for the competition review will be published in coming weeks.

The FCA will also consider undertaking a separate market study into whether customers are getting value for money when buying asset management services.