Press release

CMA publishes updated issues statement in banking market investigation

The CMA has today published an updated issues statement as part of its investigation into the supply of personal current accounts and retail banking services to SMEs.

Bank sign

The updated issues statement (PDF, 771KB, 49 pages) summarises the independent investigation group’s initial thinking based on the evidence received and analysis carried out so far. It updates on the 3 ‘theories of harm’ outlined in the initial issues statement published last November.

The theories of harm relate to:

  • the extent to which bank customers shop around and switch between providers
  • the level of concentration in the market
  • barriers to entry and expansion

The statement highlights the areas within these 3 theories that are likely to represent the focus of the investigation in the period up to publication of the provisional findings, expected in September 2015.

The investigation group has not yet reached any conclusions and its views will be developed in the light of further evidence and analysis.

Also published today are a number of case studies in the sector and a report by GfK NOP Limited on personal current account (PCA) customer research conducted for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). More working papers will follow over the coming weeks.

These working papers, along with the updated issues statement, will be the basis for hearings to be held in June and July 2015.

To date, the investigation group has visited 11 banking providers across the UK, covering both established and new entrants. It has also engaged with a wide range of interested parties including banks, building societies, national and devolved governments, regulators, consumer and industry bodies, personal customers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), price comparison websites, IT providers and academics. Before today’s publications, the investigation group had published non-confidential submissions received, a working paper on the regulatory background, and a number of methodology papers for consultation.

Submissions in response to the updated issues statement and accompanying working papers are invited in writing by 12pm on Thursday 11 June 2015 either by email to retailbanking@cma.gsi.gov.uk or to:

Project Manager
Retail banking market investigation
Competition and Markets Authority
Victoria House
Southampton Row
London
WC1B 4AD

Notes for editors

  1. For further information on the retail banking market investigation visit the case page.
  2. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. From 1 April 2014 it took over the functions of the Competition Commission and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading under the Enterprise Act 2002, as amended by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
  3. The members of the retail banking market investigation group are: Alasdair Smith (Chairman), Thomas Hoehn, Philip Marsden, Jill May and Ed Smith. The appointed investigation group act as the decision makers and have been chosen from the CMA’s panel members, who come from a variety of backgrounds, including economics, law, accountancy and business.
  4. In its investigation, the CMA is required to decide whether ‘any feature, or combination of features, of each relevant market prevents, restricts or distorts competition in connection with the supply or acquisition of any goods or services in the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom’. If so, then there is an adverse effect on competition. The CMA will then decide whether it should introduce remedies to tackle the adverse effect on competition or detrimental effect on customers so far as it has resulted from, or may be expected to result from, that adverse effect on competition, or whether it should recommend action be taken by other bodies to remedy the adverse effects on competition or detrimental effect on customers, and if so, what action should be taken. A detrimental effect on customers can be in the form of higher prices, lower quality, less choice of goods or services or less innovation in relation to such goods or services. If the CMA finds that there is no adverse effect on competition, the question of remedies will not arise.
  5. The updated issues statement is being published as the annotated issues statement referred to in, and in accordance with, paragraph 72(a) of Guidelines for market investigations: Their role, procedures, assessment and remedies which was adopted by the CMA Board.
  6. For more information on the CMA see our homepage or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn. Sign up to our email alerts to receive updates on markets cases.
  7. Press enquiries should be directed to Kasia Reardon (kasia.reardon@cma.gsi.gov.uk, 0203 738 6901) or Simon Belgard (simon.belgard@cma.gsi.gov.uk, 020 3738 6472).
Published 21 May 2015