The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined money managers Hargreave Hale and River and Mercantile Asset Management (RAMAM) for flouting competition law.

The move is the watchdog’s first decision under competition law powers.

Hargreave Hale was hit with a fine of £306,300, while RAMAM was fined £108,600.

The regulator also found Newton Investment Management breaching the competition law.

However, the asset manager was not penalised under the “competition leniency programme”.

FCA accused these firms of exchanging information during an IPO and a placing, before prices were set. As a result, competition was compromised.

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The regulator alleged that these firms revealed bidding intentions, which should have been confidential.

These include the price they were willing to pay and the volume they wanted to acquire.

FCA executive director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard said: “Asset management firms must take care to avoid undermining how prices are properly set for shares in both IPOs and placings. Failure to do so risks them acting illegally.

“The FCA will act when markets that play a vital role in helping companies raise capital in the UK’s financial markets are put at risk.

“We can also take regulatory action against an individual and did so here with respect to some of the same facts.”