FCA launches antitrust investigation into aviation brokers

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The City watchdog has launched a sprawling antitrust investigation into the aviation broking sector, raiding several of the largest players as part of a probe into whether they improperly shared confidential client information.

The Financial Conduct Authority launched a series of co-ordinated dawn raids earlier this month, seizing computers and information from Aon, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, Marsh, and Willis Towers Watson, according to people familiar with the investigation.

It is the FCA’s first major antitrust investigation to be made public since the regulator inherited competition powers in 2015. Under the powers, companies face a fine of as much as 30 per cent of their worldwide turnover in a particular market if they are found to have breached competition rules.

While the FCA declined to comment, Marsh said in a statement on Friday that the probe was a civil competition investigation, and that “the FCA indicated that it had reasonable grounds for suspecting that Marsh Limited and others have been sharing competitively sensitive information within the aviation (re)insurance sector.” It added that it was fully cooperating with the regulator.

JLT said in a statement on Friday that it was “participating in this investigation and confirms that JLT Specialty is providing all appropriate assistance to the FCA.”.

Aon, which said its aviation broking business only represented $100m in global revenues, said it was “working diligently” with the FCA.

Willis Towers Watson did not respond to a request seeking comment.

Insurance Insider first reported that the brokers had been raided.

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