A reassessment by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has confirmed that the FNZ-GBST deal will significantly reduce competition in the sector.
This comes after wealth management technology provider FNZ lodged an appeal with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) after CMA blocked its acquisition of Australian peer GBST.
The reassessment was conducted by a team of independent CMA panel members. The group noted that the two companies offer retail investment platform solutions, hence, the combination will erode competition.
Additionally, the reassessment found that the merger will lead to poorer service and increase in prices.
In July 2019, FNZ agreed to acquire GBST in a A$269m ($185.6m) deal. The transaction closed in November same year.
GBST has businesses across several countries in Asia, Europe, and North America.
Subsequently, CMA blocked the merger in November last year as the combined business would have become the largest supplier in the UK with 50% market share.
CMA decision: Divest GBST
In April this year, CMA asked FNZ to divest GBST to an independent third party. Thereafter, FNZ can exercise a right to buy back a limited set of assets relating to the GBST’s capital markets business.
The group, which carried out the reassessment, concluded that this proposal will not impact competition.
CMA inquiry group chiar Martin Coleman said: “Having completed our thorough review of the evidence, we have confirmed our provisional conclusion that the merger of FNZ and GBST could significantly decrease competition in the supply of retail investment platform solutions in the UK.
“Requiring FNZ to sell GBST, with the right to repurchase certain parts of the GBST business that are not related to the concerns that we have found, will protect investment platforms and the people they serve, including millions of people with pensions and other investments, from facing higher prices or poorer service in the future.”