Competition and Markets Authority

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is the competition regulator in United Kingdom. It is a non-ministerial government department in the United Kingdom, responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities. The CMA launched in shadow form on 1 October 2013 and began operating fully on 1 April 2014, when it assumed many of the functions of the previously existing Competition Commission and Office of Fair Trading, which were abolished. The CMA is often accused of being fundamentally flawed.

Competition and Markets Authority
Competition and Markets Authority.svg
Authority overview
Formed1 October 2013
TypeNon-ministerial government department
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
HeadquartersThe Cabot
25 Cabot Square
E14 4QZ
Employees859; 831 FTEs (2021)[1]
Authority executives
Parent departmentDepartment for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Child Authority Edit this at Wikidata


On 15 March 2012 the UK Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced proposals for strengthening competition in the UK by merging the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission to create a new single Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).[2] The formation of the CMA was enacted in Part 3 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013,[3] which received royal assent on 25 April 2013.

In July 2012, Lord Currie was appointed chairman designate of the CMA and in January 2013 Alex Chisholm was appointed Chief Executive designate.[4] The term 'designate' was dropped when the CMA was launched on 1 October 2013.

On 15 July 2013 BIS announced the first stage of an open public consultation period and published a summary, setting out the background to the consultation and inviting views on the draft guidance for the CMA.[5] The first stage of the consultation ended on 6 September 2013. On 17 September, BIS announced the second stage of the consultation, which closed on 7 November 2013.[6]

During 2013 and 2014, the CMA announced several waves of appointments at director level, reporting to members of the senior executive team.[7]

On 28 March 2014 the CMA published the Rules of Procedure for CMA merger, market and special reference groups[8] following a consultation which ran from 21 February to 18 March.

On 26 July 2017, Andrea Coscelli was appointed chief executive officer of the Competition and Markets Authority.[9]

On 20 June 2018, Andrew Tyrie took up his role as the new Chair of the CMA, taking over from Lord Currie.[10]

On 12 August 2019, the CMA's London office moved to The Cabot, 25 Cabot Square, in London's Canary Wharf area.[11]


In situations where competition could be unfair or consumer choice may be affected, the CMA is responsible for:[12]

  • investigating phase 1 and phase 2 mergers[13]
  • conducting market studies and market investigations[14]
  • investigating possible breaches of prohibitions against anti-competitive agreements under the Competition Act 1998
  • bringing criminal proceedings against individuals who commit cartels offences
  • enforcing consumer protection legislation, particularly the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Directive and Regulations
  • encouraging regulators to use their competition powers
  • considering regulatory references and appeals
  • Regulation of public sector subsidies to business
  • Oversight of the UK Internal Market

Strategic GoalsEdit

The CMA currently lists 5 strategic goals:[15]

  • delivering effective enforcement – to deter wrongdoing, protect consumers and educate businesses
  • extending competition frontiers – by using the markets regime to improve the way competition works, in particular within the regulated sectors
  • refocusing consumer protection – working with its partners to promote compliance and understanding of the law, and empowering consumers to make informed choices
  • achieving professional excellence – by managing every case efficiently, transparently and fairly, and ensuring all legal, economic and financial analysis is conducted to the highest international standards
  • developing integrated performance – through ensuring that all staff are brought together from different professional backgrounds to form effective multi-disciplinary teams and provide a trusted competition adviser across government


In December 2019, the Commission released a report recommending the curtailment of the duopoly of Google and Facebook. The general election meant that the report was not presented to the Government in December; in particular, this prevented the carrying of ideas, such as the sharing of 90% of online data provided to the company with other companies, to fruition.[16]

The UK Competition Commission ruled several times against MyFerryLink, an English passenger and ferry freight company, preventing its operations from Dover despite the French competition authority authorising cross-channel activity.[17] The French government blamed the decision to ban one out of three ferry operators on fair-trade concerns.[18] The appeals court overturned these rulings, as MyFerryLink was not a merger of the bankrupt SeaFrance and Eurotunnel, the latter of which remains responsible for the management of the Channel Tunnel.[19][20] MyFerryLink called attention to a potential conflict of interest, pointing out that the former accountant of DFDS, the competitor and plaintiff of the case, was now a member of the UK Competition Commission.[21] Following these delays, Eurotunnel, owner of the boats rented to MyFerryLink, sold two new boats to the aforementioned competitor.[22] Due to this, the port of Calais was blocked by workers, boats were occupied and the Channel Tunnel attacked, resulting in cross-channel disruption and traffic jams in the UK and France.[23]

The UK Competition Commission ruled against the merger between Illumina and Pacific Biosciences in 2019. Some experts in the field of DNA sequencing considered that this would be bad news for Pacific Biosciences, although others considered the CMA's decision to be within their remit.[24][non-primary source needed] The US Federal Trade Commission argued along the same lines as the CMA's decision later in 2019.


During an inquiry into the private healthcare market, the authority made the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order in 2014. This requires healthcare providers, including NHS trusts, to submit information to the Private Healthcare Information Network. This will include information about infection rates, rates of adverse incidents and the relative health improvement brought about by treatments. This will be broken down by consultants in 2018 and, in 2019, will extend to charges.[25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "CMA: workforce management information December 2021". Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  2. ^ "Strengthening competition and creating a single competition and markets authority (CMA)". Department for Business Innovation & Skills. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, Part 3". The National Archives. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Competition and Markets Authority". Ministerial statement by Vince Cable. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Competition and Markets Authority – Open consultation guidance". Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Competition and Markets Authority guidance, Part 2". Department for Business Innovation and Skills, UK Government. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  7. ^ Appointments at Director level:
    seven: "CMA announces further appointments". Competition and Markets Authority, UK Government. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
    eighteen "Second wave of appointments". Competition and Markets Authority, UK Government. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
    eighteen "Third wave of appointments". Competition and Markets Authority, UK Government. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
    eleven "Further wave of appointments". Competition and Markets Authority, UK Government. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Rules of Procedure for Merger, Market and Special Reference Groups" (PDF). CMA. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Andrea Coscelli named CEO of Competition and Markets Authority". UK Government. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Andrew Tyrie begins as Chair of Competition and Markets Authority". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  11. ^ "CMA completes move to Canary Wharf". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  12. ^ "CMA Responsibilities". UK Government. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  13. ^ "Competition: Mergers - detailed information - GOV.UK".
  14. ^ "Competition: Markets - detailed information - GOV.UK".
  15. ^ "About us". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Google and Facebook dominance should be curbed, suggests CMA". The Guardian. 18 December 2019.
  17. ^ "L'autorité de la concurrence autorise Eurotunnel à racheter la flotte de SeaFrance". 14 November 2012.
  18. ^ "French Ministry of Transport blame CMA decision".
  19. ^ "Judge decision in Scop SeaFrance against CMA" (PDF).
  20. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ "MyFerryLink interdit de séjour en Angleterre". 28 June 2014.
  22. ^ "MyFerryLink : Eurotunnel cède deux bateaux au Danois DFDS". 8 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Travel chaos as strike continues". BBC News. BBC. 1 July 2015.
  24. ^ Baker, Shawn (1 December 2019). "Really seems like the merger won't happen. I think that's bad news for @PacBio fans, but I hope I'm wrong. …". @SanDiegOmics. Retrieved 28 December 2019. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)
  25. ^ "Competition regulator urgently demands data from trusts". Health Service Journal. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.

External linksEdit