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UK Watchdog Publishes Findings Of ‘Lessons Learned’ Review Into Open Banking

 |  May 29, 2022

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today published the findings and recommendations of a review by Kirstin Baker, one of its independent non-executive Directors, to identify lessons from Open Banking for the CMA’s approach to designing, implementing and monitoring remedies in its market investigations.

Open Banking was introduced following the CMA’s Retail Banking Market Investigation, which set out a blueprint for improving the way banks could serve customers and small business. As a result, in 2017 the CMA ordered the 9 largest banks in Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the CMA9) to set up an Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) which would enable customers to share their transaction history data safely and securely with trusted third parties. Today, the UK is a global leader in this area and it is estimated that half the UK’s small businesses and over 5 and a half million consumers now use services powered by Open Banking technology.

In 2020, the CMA received allegations relating to conduct at the OBIE and Alison White was appointed to undertake an independent investigation. Her findings were published in October 2021. The investigation concluded that the then Trustee of the OBIE had not ensured that the organisation was properly managed in accordance with the Retail Banking Market Investigation Order 2017 (the Order). It also found that a lack of appropriate corporate governance had contributed directly to those organisational failings.

Following that investigation a new OBIE Trustee, Charlotte Crosswell, was appointed. Subsequently, the OBIE has strengthened its governance through the appointment of independent non-executive directors and enhancements to its controls, policies and approach risk management. In addition, the OBIE appointed a Chief Executive to strengthen the management and leadership of the OBIE, and a Director of People and HR to drive forward improvements to HR practices and workplace culture. The OBIE also launched a redress process to consider workplace-related complaints by former staff.

When the Alison White report was published, the CMA also announced that Kirstin Baker, a CMA Non-executive Director, would lead a review into the specific lessons for the CMA in its approach to designing, implementing and monitoring remedies in future market investigations. The Terms of Referenceof this review were published in November 2021 and it is the findings of this review that are being published today.

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