Economist Frédéric Palomino joined speakers from Santander, DG Comp, the UK Financial Conduct Authority and Shearman & Sterling in a webinar organized by Concurrences.
The European Commission has dealt with many cases over the past years concerning financial markets, such as the CDS case, the LIBOR cases, the Forex case and the Euribor case, in which the General Court brought another layer of thinking on what could be undertaken. Frédéric noted that the financial services industry is heavily regulated industry and those cases have been conducted by DG COMP rather than a sector regulator. He compared this with the settlement of the U.S. Barclays case in 2012 – the case was not brought by the antitrust division but the fraud division of the Department of Justice.
Frédéric distinguished cases regarding the exchange of price-related information, which the General Court confirms constitutes an infringement by object, and other types of information exchange. The General Court found, for example, that the exchange of non-price-related information (e.g. information on trading positions) is not an infringement by object. A theory of harm is necessary to find infringement by effect. Frédéric expressed hope that more sophisticated analysis and more elaborated theories of harm can be developed to deal with the exchange of non-price-related information.
Frédéric then discussed syndicated loans and bundling, concerning which several risks were identified by the European Commission in its report released in 2019, including antitrust risk and market manipulation risk. The different risks raise the question of which authority has jurisdiction over those issues.
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