The FCA has dispelled any doubts about how seriously it intends to take its new competition objective by announcing the appointment of David Saunders, the former Chief Executive of the legacy competition regulator, the Competition Commission, as a new senior adviser in its competition team. He will be joined there by a former Lehman Brothers managing director, Gunner Burkhart.
As posted previously, from April 2015 the FCA will have concurrent competition powers with the CMA and has, ahead of that date, been actively developing its competition expertise to be able to exert its new powers effectively at that time, in support of its competition objective. In his new role, Mr Saunders will support the FCA's competition department (as well as the nascent Payment Services Regulator) and address wider competition issues that arise within the FCA's thematic supervision work. Mr Burkhart will focus on wholesale and markets issues in investment banking.
As the FCA 'tools up', it will be interesting to see how it works alongside the CMA. The FCA entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the legacy OFT in April 2013 which included a Concordat on competition issues. This MoU set out the role and responsibilities of the FCA so one would expect the two regulators to be clear about their respective roles. However, the document has yet to be updated and in practice it may be more difficult for the FCA to avoid treading on the CMA's toes than this neat document might suggest.