NEW event 5 June 2014

January 29th, 2014

Competition Law in the Financial Sector – Save the Date – 5 June 2014

The Scottish Competition Law Forum, in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh’s Europa Institute, would like to invite you to an event designed to debate the questions and problems arising from the challenge of securing effective rivalry within the financial industry in Scotland, the United Kingdom and the European Union, today and in the future.

The financial industry is one of the most important economic sectors in the UK and in Scotland. It has however become clear that “all is not well” in this pivotal sector, not just in Britain but across the European Union.  The 2007 final report on retail banking, published by the EU Commission, highlighted a number of serious features which dampen competition in the industry.

The 2008 financial crisis had a significant impact on the state of play in the industry, resulting in wide-ranging restructuring and increased concentration.  This is especially apparent in the United Kingdom and in Scotland.  Despite recent efforts designed to encourage competition in the market, the perception is still that of a concentrated industry, where “too big to fail” firms continue to engage in less than transparent practices.

In a recent report from the Office of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, it was noted that in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote in September 2014, the banking industry would come to account for 1254% of an independent Scotland’s GDP: this factor, coupled with the fact that the Scottish banking market is polarised around two major institutions, was regarded as “likely to increase the risks, to markets, firms and consumers, of financial services firms” active in Scotland.

In addition, the LIBOR investigation has shown how concentrated markets, coupled with established practices allowing for the exchange of “sensitive information” among rivals for the purpose of determining key rates, may create an anti-competitive environment.

Against this background, it is legitimate to query what the future holds for the banking industry in the EU, in the UK and, in the event of independence, in Scotland. Should more be done to lessen the degree of concentration within this industry? Is the market sufficiently “open” and contestable for potential new entrants, so as to provide effective competitive constraints for incumbents? What about consumers? Is the retail side of the industry capable of countervailing possible collusive tendencies within this concentrated industry? And finally, is the existing regulatory framework, in its design and powers, suitable to the demands of ensuring effective rivalry in this market?

Speakers confirmed so far include:

Deborah Jones, Director of Competition at the FCA

Stephen Smith, Director, Competition and Regulatory Strategy, Lloyds Banking Group

Gary Gillespie, Chief Economic Adviser at the Scottish Government

John Schmidt, Partner, Shepherd & Wedderburn LLP

Owen Kelly OBE, Chief Executive, SFE

Trevor Pugh, Sheffield University

Dan Moore, OFT/CMA

Venue: Edinburgh University, Old College

To register: click here Attend Event or email sclf@mms.co.uk

We look forward to seeing you all there.

 

Good luck to all teams competing in the SCLF student event 2014!

January 29th, 2014

MARCH 2014…..

27 March 2014 – SCLF Student Event – Glasgow University 3pm

The Scottish Competition Law Forum is delighted to host its Annual Student Debate competition.  Teams of students from Universities in Edinburgh and Glasgow will debate on the following questions:

“Should competition law be applied at local/national as well as regional/international level?”

and

“Which competition law offences are most damaging for economic welfare and why?”

The judging panel will be composed by Mr Michael Dean, Partner, MMS and by Ms Claudia Berg, of the OFT.

The debate will take place on 27 March, from 3pm onward, in the Moot Court Room of the Faculty of Law, University of Glasgow, 5-8 University Avenue, Glasgow.

 

There is also be space available for anyone who would like to come along and support the teams, I’m sure this would be very much appreciated!