The UK Financial Conduct Authority has imposed fines on money transfer firms found to have violated provisions of the Competition Act 1998, after they admitted to coordinating among themselves the exchange rates offered to consumers in Glasgow, Scotland. The firms also admitted to having fixed transactions fees charged to customers transferring money from the United Kingdom to Pakistan.
The implicated firms are Dollar East (International Travel & Money Transfer) Ltd, Hafiz Bros Travel & Money Transfer Limited, and LCC Trans-Sending Limited (and its parent company, Small World Financial Services Group Limited). The FCA found that between February and May of 2017, the firms operated as a cartel with regard to certain facets of their business.
In determining the penalty to be assessed against these companies, the FCA took into consideration the seriousness and duration of the infringement, and turnover in the relevant market, as well as aggravating and mitigating factors. In this case, the duration of the misconduct to which the firms admitted was relatively short, and the price fixing affected only those transfers made by customers in person, not those who used the firms’ services online. In addition to considering these factors, the FCA accorded settlement discounts to the companies, in light of their admission of the misconduct, which allowed the FCA to bring the investigation to a swift conclusion. Hence, Dollar East was fined £3,600, Hafiz Bros was fined £11, 200, and Small World was fined £139,500.
All three companies had received a statement of objections in January 2023. Separately, the FCA has written to other money transfer firms based in Glasgow to admonish them to comply with competition law.