UK competition regulator to look at ION Investment’s undertakings offer in detail

Maria Nikolova

The CMA will look closely at the ION’s offered undertakings as a part of its review of the acquisition by ION of Broadway Technology Holdings.

About a fortnight after the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said ION’s completed purchase of Broadway Technology raises competition concerns in the supply of electronic trading systems, the regulator today provided an update on the matter.

On July 14, 2020, ION Investment Group Limited offered undertakings to the CMA. The CMA has considered the undertakings offered and today announced that it considers that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the undertaking offered, or a modified version of it, might be accepted by the CMA to remedy the substantial lessening of competition identified by the CMA.

The regulator now has until September 16, 2020 to decide whether to accept the undertaking, with the possibility to extend this timeframe to November 11, 2020 if it considers there are special reasons for doing so.

ION and Broadway Technology provide specialist trading systems to financial organisations, such as banks, that allows the trading of foreign exchange (FX) and fixed income securities (FI) such as government bonds.

The CMA has concerns relating to the supply of FI electronic trading systems. Based on evidence from the companies’ own documents and feedback received from their customers, the CMA considers that ION is by far the largest supplier of these systems and Broadway is one of only two significant competitors.

The CMA’s initial Phase 1 investigation has found that the deal could therefore leave customers facing a significantly reduced choice of supplier with the potential for higher prices or more onerous terms and conditions on their services.

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