10 firms in Singapore have each been fined up to almost half a million Singapore dollars by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) in what is the first official instance of anti-competition in the financial services sector.
This is the first case of anti-competition in the financial services sector in Singapore; this week the CCS reprimanded the financial advisors for collectively pressurising a competitor to remove an offer from the life insurance market.
In 2013, iFAST Financial, a company in Singapore offered a 50% commission rebate on life insurance services online, which was stated to be an innovative and legitimate idea to save on distribution costs allowing for the saving to be passed on to clients. However the offer was withdrawn after only a few days.
At a briefing held on Thursday, the CCS committee said the 10 financial advisers, who were all active members of the Association of Financial Advisors, had overstepped the Competition Act by engaging in an anti-competitive agreement to force iFAST to withdraw its offer.
The Parties’ conduct to collectively pressurise iFAST into withdrawing the offer prevented the life insurance market from shifting to a more competitive state illegally, effectively stopping the company’s legitimate offer. The move has been a drastic one, however hopes that it will deter any instances like arising again in the future.