| OXFORD, England
OXFORD, England May 22 European Union antitrust
regulators are to put major financial services firms under the
microscope by examining the impact of syndicated loans on credit
"The fact that the (European) Commission commissions a study
in a specific market does not in any way imply that there is
anti-competitive behaviour taking place or that the Commission
would open an investigation into that market," spokesman Ricardo
Cardoso said in an email on Monday.
In Europe, bank loans traditionally accounted for around 70
percent of lending to companies and other borrowers. This
contrasts with the United States where the credit markets have
made up some 70-80 percent of where companies borrow.
The European Commission said its interest had been prompted
by the growing importance of loan syndication, in which
institutional investors and banks lend to a borrower for a fee.
Companies face penalties up to 10 percent of their global
turnover for breaching EU antitrust rules and the bloc has fined
banks including Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, RBS
, Citigroup and Societe Generale a total
of more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in recent years.
Authorities around the world have taken a similarly tough
line against rate-rigging and other infringements.
The study is expected to take nine months and will focus on
six countries, according to a tender for the study issued by the
EU executive, which did not name them.
"The study will examine the structure and process of loan
syndication, also in light of recent regulatory reforms which
aim to increase supervision and capital requirements," Cardoso
Parties wishing to carry out the study for the commission
have until June 6 to submit their offers.
($1 = 0.8896 euros)
(Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Alexander Smith)