The PSR is consulting on procedural guidance relating to its competition powers.
We have designed our procedures with the aim of using our competition powers effectively and efficiently. This should benefit those who use, or are likely to use, the services provided by payment systems through detecting, enforcing against and deterring anti-competitive behaviour in relation to participation in payment systems. We have set out our procedures and we want to know what you think.
We are seeking views in two separate areas, both addressed in this Consultation Paper:
- draft guidance on our powers and procedures under the Competition Act 1998
- draft guidance on our powers and procedures to conduct market reviews and market studies and to make market investigation references.
Who should read this paper?
This consultation is relevant to payment system operators, banks, building societies and other payment service providers (PSPs), infrastructure providers, service-users of UK payment systems, trade bodies, consumer groups and other parties interested in UK payment systems.
The PSR was incorporated as a subsidiary of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on 1 April 2014. We will become fully operational on 1 April 2015.
As from 1 April 2014, we have had competition powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 (EA02) and we obtain new competition powers under the Competition Act 1998 (CA98) on 1 April 2015.
We have powers under EA02 to carry out market studies, and to make market investigation references to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) relating to participation in payment systems. We will also have powers to enforce the prohibitions in CA98 on anti-competitive behaviour in relation to participation in payment systems.
The same competition powers may also be exercised by the CMA with regard to payment systems (and the services they provide) and other sectors of the economy. This means that, in respect of participation in payment systems, the CMA and the PSR will have ‘concurrent powers’ and the PSR will be a ‘concurrent regulator’. These powers are additional to our ability to use our powers under the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 (FSBRA) in pursuit of our competition, innovation and service-user objectives.
How this consultation relates to the FCA’s consultation on competition guidance
The FCA launched a consultation on concurrent competition powers on 15 January 2015.
We are consulting on guidance documents that are broadly equivalent to those published for consultation by the FCA. Our proposed processes mirror those of the FCA but there are differences that reflect our specific regulatory functions, objectives, duties and powers under FSBRA.
For convenience, we are making available on request versions of our draft guidance documents which highlight the paragraphs that contain differences from the FCA’s draft guidance documents. Anyone wishing to request these versions should contact the PSR by email at PSRconsultations@psr.org.uk.
We want to know what you think of our proposals and welcome comments and responses to our consultation questions by 5pm on Friday 20 March 2015. You can respond by email to PSRconsultations@psr.org.uk or using our online response form (please note this will take you to the FCA website).
We will reflect on the feedback received before finalising the guidance documents and issuing a feedback statement. We intend to do this as soon as possible after our operational launch on 1 April 2015 (which is also the day we acquire our concurrent competition powers under CA98).
Can I respond to both the PSR and FCA consultations?
We recognise that certain respondents may wish to respond to both the PSR and FCA consultations (for example, where a business is active in the UK financial services sector as well as being a participant in a UK payment system). The PSR and the FCA are willing to receive submissions dealing with both sets of guidance jointly. Such joint submissions should, however, be provided by the FCA’s deadline of 13 March 2015.
Alternatively, if a respondent to the FCA’s consultation does not wish to make a joint submission, it may forward to the PSR its response to the FCA’s consultation and add any further comments that are uniquely responsive to the PSR’s consultation. Such submissions should be provided by the PSR’s deadline of 20 March 2015
See our November 2014 Consultation, A new regulatory framework for payment systems in the UK (PSR CP14/1) and Supporting Paper 6 (on ‘Regulatory tools’)