On 17 May 2022, UK CMA published terms of reference after referring the anticipated acquisition by London Stock Exchange Group PLC of Quantile Group Ltd to phase 2.
- LSEG is an international financial markets infrastructure and data business which holds a majority shareholding in the LCH clearing house group - a clearing house helps reduce costs, risks of a transaction between a buyer and seller in a financial market.
- It helps reduce costs by standardizing the steps leading up to payment.
- Quantile also helps financial institutions to reduce risk in transactions, along with their overall regulatory costs, including through specific services including multilateral compression for financial institutions dealing with derivative instruments.
- Multilateral compression providers for over-the-counter interest rate derivatives depend on LCH to help build compression proposals for trades cleared at LCH.
- CMA's phase 1 probe found concerns that after the acquisition of Quantile, LCH could refuse to allow 3rd party compression providers to provide these services; LCH could also provide support to Quantile’s rivals in multilateral compression on worse terms.
- This could potentially lead to reduced competition in UK financial services, which is a concern as UK financial services is a key employer and contributor to GDP.
- Thus, UK CMA found concerns in supply of this service for over-the-counter interest rate derivatives, and has referred the acquisition for an in-depth phase 2 investigation.
- The statutory deadline for UK CMA's phase 2 decision is Nov. 1, 2022.