Banks and other financial institutions are in the firing
line for antitrust scrutiny by the European Commission (EC).
The EC recently announced antitrust investigations in two new
cases involving financial services, with two other cases
reported in the press, and has proposed settlements in two
Commissioner Almunia traveled to London to announce that the
financial sector is one of his key enforcement priorities and
that, in his view, regulation alone had proved insufficient to
"Whereas regulation tackles broad structural market
failures, you need competition policy to tackle the harmful
behaviour of individual market participants," said Almunia.
The EC's activism in the financial sector marks a
significant shift in policy for a competition authority that
has traditionally given the financial sector a wide berth,
perhaps because it was content for sectoral regulators like the
Financial Services Authority to take the lead in supervising
the conduct of banks...