Banks and insurers under fire

JOHANNESBURG – The Competition Commission is gearing up to play hardball with banks and insurance companies, saying on Thursday that the days for talking were past and it has prioritised the financial services sector for “enforcement”.
“We have done a lot of engagement work in the past with a view to changing behaviour. Some have done so and others have not. We have not taken the decision to prioritise enforcement,” said manager of cartels division Makgale Mohlala at a Bowman Gilfillan competition law conference in Johannesburg.
The commission is locked in a legal battle with banks about alleged currency rigging by their traders. A global clean-up still underway of the $5-trillion-a-day foreign exchange market has netted regulators more than $410 billion in fines since 2013.
Mohlala said: “Where respondents take on technical points, sometimes those points are being taken with the hope that the case will disappear. We are wanting to get to the merits and not get stuck on technicalities.”
The competition tribunal is set to hear exception applications on July 30 in the case, brought against 23 financial institutions and 35 individuals, who are accused of colluding in online chat rooms to fix prices on rand-dollar currency trades.
In December, the commission filed a further affidavit to deal with some of the exceptions, and added five related-party entities to the 18 initial banks, which had been incorrectly excluded.
Photo Credit- Youth Village

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