The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has recently imposed significant fines on three money transfer firms for violating competition law.
The firms involved are Dollar East (International Travel & Money Transfer) Ltd, Hafiz Bros Travel & Money Transfer Limited, and LCC Trans-Sending Limited, which includes its parent company, Small World Financial Services Group Limited. Collectively, these firms have been fined over £150,000.
The FCA’s investigation revealed that from 18 February 2017 to 31 May 2017, these firms colluded on exchange rates for UK pounds to Pakistan Rupees and fixed transaction fees for money transfers from the UK to Pakistan via Small World’s services. This illicit coordination was specifically for in-store services in Glasgow. Hafiz Bros, despite not having a Glasgow branch, was implicated for facilitating this behavior.
Sheldon Mills, the FCA’s Executive Director of Consumers and Competition, condemned the firms for operating like a cartel, emphasizing the importance of money transfer businesses and the detrimental impact of such collusion on customer trust and financial integrity.
All three firms acknowledged their breach of competition law, leading to reduced fines as part of a settlement agreement.
The FCA highlighted the gravity of these violations in ensuring competitive local retail markets across the UK and has utilised its powers under the Competition Act 1998 to enforce this. The fines imposed were £3,600 for Dollar East, £11,200 for Hafiz Bros, and £139,500 for Small World.
The FCA’s commitment extends beyond this case, as evidenced by its recent communication with other Glasgow-based money transfer firms, reminding them of their legal obligations under competition law.
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