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Regulatory & Disciplinary Services

Regulatory & Disciplinary

Competition & markets authority – Directors

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In addition to its powers to investigate and prosecute individuals for cartel offences, the Competition & Markets Authority (‘CMA’) has the power to apply for Company Director Disqualification Orders (‘CDDOs’).

Such orders may disqualify a person from acting as a director or otherwise being involved in the management of a company for up to 15 years.

In May 2019, the CMA indicated an intention to use its CDDO powers more widely, and more recently has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Serious Fraud Office with regard to the investigation and prosecution of criminal cartel offences.

This suggests that the CMA is planning to focus more of its own resources on civil investigations and enforcement, including applications for CDDOs. This is consistent with our recent experience of company directors being invited to attend interviews with the CMA on a voluntary basis, rather than ‘under caution’ as would be the case if the CMA suspected participation in a criminal cartel.

Participation in a CMA investigation should be taken very seriously and specialist advice taken. In particular, the CMA’s focus on cooperation as a condition of leniency means that the steps taken in the early stages of an investigation can have a huge effect on the final outcome.

We regularly advise individuals who are involved in investigations by the CMA.