Irish Competition Regulator Opens Study of Mortgage Market and Continues Other High-Profile Market Investigations
There has been a recent uptake in market-wide investigations by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ("CCPC"). While these developments are particularly relevant to mortgage, insurance and ticketing companies, they also act as a reminder to all companies of the CCPC's ability to open a general investigation of any market and to use its wide legal powers to compel the provision of information and witness evidence.
Mortgage Market Study
- This week (20 February 2017), the CCPC announced a public consultation on its study of the Irish mortgage market. Interested parties may make submissions to the CCPC by 20 March 2017.
- This market study was mandated by the Government as part of its "Programme for a Partnership Government" and is the first of its kind mandated under Section 10(4) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014.
- The CCPC's objective is to identify any barriers to entry and effective competition, and the long list of questions in the public consultation shows that the CCPC is considering all possible areas where barriers could be identified.
- The output of the market study will be a CCPC recommendation of options for the Government to implement, most likely including legislative or regulatory changes, in order to enhance competition for the benefit of Irish mortgage customers.
- There is an ongoing CCPC investigation into the provision of tickets for live events following a public announcement of it on 26 January 2017.
- The CCPC has stated that it is investigating suspected competition law infringements by market players but it has not stated what particular practices are being scrutinised.
- As part of the investigation, the CCPC has issued witness summonses and formal requirements for information to a number of market players.
Motor Insurance Investigation
- There is an ongoing CCPC investigation into the motor insurance market following a public announcement of it on 13 September 2016.
- The CCPC has stated that it is investigating alleged competition law infringements involving "industry participants openly signalling up-coming increases in motor insurance premiums in the State".
- As part of the investigation, the CCPC has issued witness summonses and formal requirements for information to a number of insurers and representative bodies.
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