FCA to probe investment banks

The FCA will conduct its first investigation of investment and corporate banking to determine whether competition in the sector is working effectively.

FCA to probe investment banks


The probe follows its review of the competition in the wholesale sector, which revealed a lack of clarity over price and quality was making it difficult for clients to assess whether or not they were getting value for money.

It also highlighted the disadvantage faced by newer or smaller entrants trying to compete with larger, more established organisations.

The study will be detailed in the spring, to be informed by views from across the industry, trade bodies and clients.

FCA director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard said: “We have chosen this particular area because the benefits of effective competition in the market could be significant. The UK is a global hub for investment banking, and this sector plays a crucial role in our economy, helping companies raise capital for investment, expansion and funding ongoing operations.

“What was clear from the discussions we had with stakeholders and firms was that there are unanswered questions about potential conflicts of interest and value for money in this market. This will form part of our wider work in the wholesale markets, alongside the Fair and Effective Markets Review.”

The wholesale sector review saw the FCA meet with roughly 70 organisations and individuals. The feedback received cast light on other potential competition issues, such as how purchasers of asset management services get value for money, pricing and availability of data and vertical integration of clearing and execution services, for example.

The regulator is considering a further investigation into asset management and related services later in the year.