The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has this week published a brand-new guide to help business owners “stay on the right side of competition law”.

The updated manual includes all of the information and advice managers, director and owners need to identify potential breaches and avoid costly legal action.

Written in collaboration with the Institute of Risk Management, the guide features “up-to-date case studies that draw out lessons learned”, “provides examples of best practice” and “shines a light on accountability, highlighting that it is the responsibility of directors to ensure their companies comply with competition law”.

The case studies include a landmark ruling involving a director of an estate agency who was banned from running any company for a total of seven years after arranging an illegal cartel with six other estate agents, “denying homeowners the chance of getting a better deal when selling their property”.

As well as disqualification orders, businesses involved in cartels and price fixing can also be handed a hefty fine. In one instance, several water tank suppliers who broke competition law by forming a cartel were fined a total of £2.6 million.

Commenting on the new guide, Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive, said: “Business leaders must be alive to competition law risk. They should take an active role in ensuring compliance. And the public rightly expects there to be personal responsibility for very serious wrongdoing in firms.

“It’s in the interests of business leaders – as well as their customers – that competition law compliance is clearly on the radar, and that’s what this Guide is about.”

Iain Wright, Chair of the Institute of Risk Management, added: “The challenge is to recognise and address this risk beyond the boundaries of the immediate organisation out into the extended enterprise including the network of customers, suppliers and partners. Having a clear understanding of these risks is a necessary first step, and one which this guide aims to support.”

To access the new guide, click here.

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