OFT takes action in relation to information exchange

The OFT has today issued a decision that RBS infringed competition law by exchanging commercially sensitive pricing information with Barclays. The information concerned the price of loan products to large professional services firms.

RBS has been fined £28.5 million following an admission of the breach last year. Barclays, who blew the whistle on the information exchange, has not been fined.

Gustaf Duhs, Head of Competition at Stevens & Bolton LLP, has commented: "This decision emphasises the need for a strong competition compliance culture within businesses, and highlights that businesses should exercise caution if exchanging information with or in relation to competitors. Ideally such information should only be disclosed or received once competition law advice has been taken. The decision also highlights the benefits of carrying out regular competition law audits. As with the BA-Virgin decision the whistleblower has walked away without sanction while their co-conspirator has received a substantial fine."

A more detailed briefing on information exchange will follow once the OFT has published the decision later this year.

Please feel free to contact Gustaf Duhs on 01483 734 217 or by email to gustaf.duhs@stevens-bolton.com if you wish to discuss this or any other competition law issues.
 

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