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About Competition and Markets Authority

Launched on 1st October 2013, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is a non-ministerial government department in the United Kingdom responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities. Although it was formed on 1st October 2013, it was on 1st April 2014 when it acquired powers by taking over many of the functions of the Competition Commission (CC) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

CMA is an independent department and is also the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority having the responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law.

Competition and Markets Authority Role

The main role of all competition and markets authority around the world including the European Union is to protect the public interest, especially against the firms who are known for abusing their dominant positions and such firms operate within the market without taking into consideration the reaction of its competitors as well as of its consumers and most recent example of a firm abusing its dominant power happened in the year 2014 when the Competition and Markets Authority ordered a probe into UK retail banks who were of the belief that the current accounts were not competitive enough to work in the consumer’s interest.

Headquartered at London, WC1, the Competition and Markets Authority is having manpower of approx 650 people and has its offices and representatives in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Also Read: Consumer Rights ACT 2015

Vision of Competition and Markets Authority

CMA takes pride in putting its vision as well as mission in the following words:

CMA Vision: The vision statement of CMA is that it must seek to promote healthy competition, both within and outside the United Kingdom, for the benefit of consumers.

CMA Mission: CMA ensures and makes the market work well in synchronization with the interest of consumers, businesses and the economy.

Competition forms an important workforce and CMA as per its vision statement, works towards promoting a healthy competition, both within and outside the United Kingdom and has been an important key in driving productivity and is crucial in stimulating efficient and strong economies and to encourage growth and there are ample examples showing the positive effects of competition and few of them are as below:

  1. Boost in the economic rates by 2.5 to 5.0 percentage points.
  2. Price drop of 20-40 percent after international cartels were broken.

Objective of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

CMA being one of the leading competition and consumer agencies in the world has its main objective to protect public interest and in order to achieve its objective; it has set up 5 strategic goals, such as:

  • Delivering effective enforcement: The very first goal which the CMA thrives to achieve is to have an effective enforcement and implementation of its policies so that any wrongdoing can be deterred. It also aims to educate the businesses in order to streamline their conduct so that the consumer’s interest is not being compromised in any way. By delivering an effective enforcement, CMA ensures that the businesses and the individuals understand the law and possible repercussions in case they break the same and just to make sure that the interest of the consumers is protected, they make sure that all the cases are managed in an appropriate manner which enables them to take timely and good decisions.
  • Extending competition frontiers: In addition to taking care of consumer’s interest, CMA also works towards extending the competition frontiers by utilizing the market regime in order to improve the way competition works. The existing market regime is utilized only when there is enough evidence showing consumer’s interest. Also CMA ensures that the application of competition law and policy in sectors especially the regulated sectors works in synchronization with the sector regulators, which apart from improving the way competition works also encourages the effective competition where markets and business models are evolving continuously.
  • Refocusing consumer protection: One of the main aim and objective of the CMA is to empower consumers to make informed choices and in order to do so, CMA works closely with its partners to promote and understand the compliance of the law. By its working method, CMA empowers the consumers so that they can take benefit of both consumers and competition powers in order to make an informed decision. It also identifies complex and precedent-setting cases and decides where it is best for them to intervene in order to have maximum impact on the market.
  • Achieving professional excellence: CMA ensures that every case is handled and managed in an effective, transparent and fair means and also all economic, legal and financial standards are met. It also aims to meet the external expectations of pace, rigour and fairness and all deadlines. CMA always works on the fair line of competition and led the development of legal, economic and business.
  • Developing integrated performance: CMA ensures that its staff is from various professional backgrounds in order to have a multi-disciplinary team to provide a trusted competition adviser across the government. CMA utilizes all the competition and consumer measures at its disposal in order to have maximum impact on the market and also makes sure to derive lessons and experience from its previous cases in order to improve its present performance and decision making skills. It also complements the work of concerned regulatory and enforcement authorities and the consumers and act cohesively with them to achieve integrated performance.

Above mentioned goals of CMA and its success as per the mentioned goals will make it:

  1. An organization having a beneficial impact on consumers, business behavior and on productivity and growth in the economy,
  2. A great workplace,
  3. A respected and powerful as well as influential authority both in the UK and abroad.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Partners

The Competition and Markets Authority work in partnership with multiple organizations both in the UK and abroad.

The partners of CMA in the UK are:

  1. Trading Standards
  2. Citizens Advice and Citizen’s Advice Scotland
  3. Consumer Council for Northern Ireland
  4. Business groups
  5. Sector regulators
  6. Other government departments
  7. Fellow competition and consumer bodies across the world.

Whereas the CMA partners abroad or internationally are:

  1. The International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN)
  2. The International Competition Network (ICN)
  3. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  4. European partners in the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network and the European Competition Network (ECN).

Roles and Responsibilities of CMA

The reforms and objectives central in the creation of the CMA were basically designed to:

  • Improve speed and predictability for business.
  • Support the competition authorities in taking forward the right cases.
  • Improve the quality of decisions and to strengthen the regime.
  • Reduce the complexity of the consumer landscape.
  • Strengthen the effectiveness of the enforcement of consumer rights and
  • To ensure that the activities in order to empower the consumers are delivered more effectively

And in order to ensure that CMA meets its desired expectations, the United Kingdom government has listed out a list of roles and responsibilities such as:

  • Investigate the mergers that could restrict competition.
  • Conduct market studies and investigations having possibility of having competition and consumer problems.
  • Investigate if there is any breach of UK or European law against anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance positions.
  • Bring criminal proceedings against individuals who commit a cartel offence.
  • Enforce consumer protection legislation in order to tackle practices and market conditions where consumers face problem in making or exercising their choice.
  • Co-operate with sector regulators and encourage them to use their competition powers considering regulatory references and appeals.

CMA believes in transparent and fair handling of consumer complaints and adheres to its Principals of Good Complaint Handling as laid out by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and to make sure that the complaints are handled in a timely and effective manner.

CMA follows the below mentioned steps:

  1. CMA tries to answer all initial complaints within 30 days of receipt and ensure that the correspondence is accurate and in plain English. And in case there is a delay in answering your complaint, CMA will keep you informed explaining the possible reasons of delay and a probable timeline for expecting a detailed reply of your complaint. In order to file a written complaint to the CMA, you can post the same at the below mentioned address: Complaints Manager Contacts Team Competition and Markets Authority Victoria House 37 Southampton Row London WC1B 4AD
  2. If you have opted for a telephone complaint rather than a written one, then CMA makes sure to revert to you with answers within one day.
  3. In order to adhere to its mission and vision statement, CMA follow fair procedures and is always courteous and helpful in helping you find a suitable solution to your complaint.
  4. CMA logs all the complaints in order to monitor the types of complaints it is getting and finding out the best possible way to deal with the same.
  5. All the complaints received by the CMA are dealt with confidentiality and in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.

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