CMA blocks FNZ and GBST merger because of antitrust concerns

The UK’s markets watchdog has halted the merger between investment platforms FNZ and GBST because of competition concerns.

Having completed an investigation into the merger, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that the deal would make the combined entity able to hold almost half of the UK market.

“We have found that FNZ and GBST are two of the leading suppliers of retail investment platform solutions, and that they compete with each other closely and face few other suppliers of similar standing,” said Martin Coleman, chair of the CMA inquiry group carrying out the investigation. “The merger has substantially reduced competition in this sector. This matters to the millions of UK consumers who hold pensions or other investments. This is because competition plays a key role in driving price and quality.

“Without healthy competition, costs could go up and service quality could get worse. FNZ chose to complete its acquisition of GBST without first seeking merger clearance in the UK, which it is perfectly entitled to do. This came with the risk that the CMA could call the case in for investigation and that, if competition concerns were found, FNZ could be required to sell off all of the business it had just acquired.”

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