A new approach to conduct risk? The example of soft commissions

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has called for the unbundling of research from dealing commissions, which are paid from investment funds to brokers. The debate about these commissions raises wider questions about the FCA’s approach to the management of conduct risk, and its strategic objective of ensuring that markets function well

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Is ESMA becoming a price regulator?

MiFID II, the updated rule book for European financial markets, will require trading platforms to make pre- and post-trade market data available on a ‘reasonable commercial basis’. The European Commission has invited the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to advise on what this means. With some fund management and brokerage firms arguing that current prices for market data services are high and should be regulated, will ESMA decide to become a price regulator?

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CfD auctions, bidding strategies, and insights from auction theory

The aim of electricity market reform (EMR) in Great Britain is to bring forward investment in low-carbon generation, through the use of long-term contracts for differences (CfDs). These CfDs will be allocated to generators via ‘auctions’, with the process beginning in December 2014. What are the features of the planned auctions, and what can auction theory tell us about their potential challenges and opportunities?

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From sports bras to cigarettes: economic analysis of anticompetitive agreements

Following the Cartes Bancaires judgment in September 2014, anticompetitive agreements are once again at the forefront of the competition policy debate. Agreements between firms that operate at different levels of the supply chain are a normal part of business, but some of these ‘vertical agreements’ are anticompetitive and certain types are assessed under European competition law in terms of their object rather than their effects. What role is there for economics in such cases?

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