The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a statement of objections to four asset management firms: Artemis Investment Management LLP, Hargreave Hale Ltd, Newton Investment Management Limited and River & Mercantile Asset Management LLP. The FCA believes the four firms may have broken competition law.
The FCA alleges that the four firms shared information by disclosing the price they intended to pay, or accepting such information, or both, in relation to one or more of two Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and one placing, shortly before the share prices were set. The sharing generally occurred on a bilateral basis and allowed firms to know the other’s plans during the IPO or placing process when they should have been competing for shares.
The FCA’s main allegations against the four firms are that separately:
- in 2015, Newton Investment Management Limited (‘Newton’)and Hargreave Hale Ltd and River & Mercantile Asset Management LLP disclosed and/or accepted information about the price they intended to pay for shares in relation to one IPO and a placing;
- in 2014 Artemis Investment Management LLP and Newton shared information about the price they intended or were willing to pay for shares in relation to another IPO.
These are provisional findings and may not necessarily lead to an infringement decision. A statement of objections gives firms notice that the FCA thinks that they have infringed competition law and the opportunity to respond by making written and oral representations. The FCA will carefully consider any representations from the firms before deciding whether the law has been broken. The statement of objections will not be made public, however any final decision taken will be published providing more detail about the case.
This is the first case the FCA is bringing using its competition enforcement powers.