- REUTERS/Chris Helgren
- The UK’s financial regulator has alleged four asset management firms may have broken competition law by colluding over prices.
- The Financial Conduct Authority is seeking further information from the firms before concluding its investigation.
- This is a preliminary decision and none of the four firms have yet been found to have broken competition law.
LONDON – The UK’s financial regulator has alleged four asset management firms may have broken competition law by colluding over share prices.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said in a statement that Artemis Investment Management, Hargreave Hale, Newton Investment Management and River & Mercantile Asset Management shared information about the price they intended to pay in relation to two initial public offerings and one placing, shortly before the share prices were set.
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,” the FCA said.
The Competition Act 1998 prohibits agreements, practices and conduct that may damage competition in the UK.
These are provisional findings and may not necessarily lead to an infringement decision, the FCA said.
The FCA alleges that in 2014 Artemis Investment Management and Newton shared information about the price they intended or were willing to pay for shares in relation to an IPO. In 2015, the FCA alleges, Newton Investment Management, Hargreave Hale and River & Mercantile Asset Management shared information about share prices relating to one IPO and a placing.
The regulator’s announcement gives the firms in question the opportunity to respond to the allegations, before it decides whether the law has been broken.
“Newton is not in a position to comment on any actions with regard to the FCA’s ongoing investigation, except to note that Newton has been cooperating fully with the FCA and will continue to do so until this matter reaches its conclusion,” a spokesperson from Newton Investment Management said.
“This matter relates to the Hargreave Hale fund management business prior to its acquisition by Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management and was disclosed to us during our due diligence process. Hargreave Hale has fully cooperated with the FCA and will be making further representations to the FCA for its review and consideration, with respect to the two transactions in question,” Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management said in a statement.
“The Group is cooperating fully with the FCA’s ongoing investigation in relation to the matter,” River & Mercantile Group said in a statement.
Business Insider has approached Artemis Investment Management for comment.
This is the first case the FCA is bringing using its competition enforcement powers.