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The EU needs more than just tough regulation

Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the European Commission delivers major lecture at Cass

Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy, delivered a clear warning to financial institutions that the Commission intends to combine its increasingly robust regulatory framework with a closer scrutiny of anti-competitive behaviour in a keynote speech at Cass this week.

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Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy

Mr Almunia's speech came in wake of two high-profile investigations launched by his department, one of which examines the allegation that a data provider colluded with some of the world's biggest banks to dominate the market for Credit-Default Swaps.

Speaking to an audience of academics, senior business leaders and students Mr Almunia stressed that the current opaque nature of financial markets is unacceptable as it provides an unfair advantage to some of the biggest players.

However, Mr Almunia dismissed the idea that a proliferation of clearing platforms posed a systemic danger to markets. "We should prevent that any one entity or group controls essential infrastructure - be it a trading platform, a clearing platform or a pre-trading service - to the benefit of the restricted few."

The Commissioner's thoughts were echoed by UK treasury minster, Mark Hoban, who delivered a rejoinder to Mr Almunia's Speech. "What we are looking for is open access to information so that counter parties are not locked into any particular clearing choice."

The second half of the breakfast event was chaired by John Fingleton, Chief Executive, Office of Fair Trading and included a panel of senior industry figures: Donald Donahue, Chief Executive Officer, The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation; Richard Gnodde, Co- Chief Executive Officer, Goldman Sachs International; Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive Officer, London Stock Exchange and Devin Wenig, Chief Executive Officer, Thomson Reuters Market

A transcript of Mr Almunia's speech is available.

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