Competition & Markets Authority
CMA publishes Annual Report 2018 to 2019
The Competition and Markets Authority yesterday published its Annual Report.
The report looks back on the work the CMA carried out during 2018/19, and highlights the tangible impact it has had.
As part of its focus over the past year, the CMA prioritised protecting vulnerable customers, investigated issues including the supply of hydrocortisone tablets to the NHS, the funeral sector, and care homes contracts, and undertook a programme of research to better understand consumer vulnerability.
The CMA also tackled issues that directly impact everyday life. It reviewed and subsequently blocked the proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda, finding that this deal would have led to increased prices for consumers. It responded to a super-complaint from Citizens Advice about the ‘loyalty penalty’, announcing a package of urgent recommendations to tackle an issue that affects millions of consumers each year.
Digital markets were also a priority and the CMA worked to improve outcomes for consumers in markets as diverse as secondary ticketing, celebrity endorsements and online dating. It investigated a range of mergers in digital commerce. Following the CMA raising concerns about the Experian and Clearscore and TopCashback and Quidco mergers, both were abandoned. The Paypal/iZettle merger was investigated and cleared.
The CMA investigated markets which underpin and enable economic growth, building on its work in markets of central significance to a well-functioning economy. It reviewed the £1.6 trillion investment consultancy and fiduciary management sector ensuring that this sector works better for pension scheme members, and made a number of recommendations to improve the statutory audit market.
Alongside its casework, the CMA focussed in 2018/19 on preparing to play a bigger role on the world stage following the UK’s exit from the EU. It also developed a package of proposed reforms to competition and consumer protection law to respond to the challenges of the digital economy and declining confidence in market competition.
The CMA has a UK-wide remit with its main office in London and offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In May 2018, it opened an expanded office in Edinburgh, which has now grown to more than 40 staff; it also plans modest expansions in Belfast and Cardiff.
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