Competition Appeal Board Upholds Financial Penalty Imposed by CCS and Dismisses Appeal by Financial Adviser
The Competition Appeal Board (“CAB”) has dismissed the appeal of IPP Financial Advisers Pte. Ltd. (“IPP”) and ordered IPP to pay the financial penalty of $239,851 imposed by the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) together with interest and costs of the appeal.
In its Infringement Decision dated 17 March 2016, CCS found that IPP, together with nine (9) other financial advisers (collectively the “Parties”), had infringed section 34 of the Competition Act (Cap.50B) (“the Act”) by engaging in an anti-competitive agreement to pressurise their competitor, iFAST Financial Pte. Ltd. (“iFAST”) to withdraw its offer of a 50% commission rebate on competing life insurance products on the Fundsupermart.com website (“Fundsupermart Offer”) (the “Conduct”).
The launch of iFAST’s Fundsupermart Offer disrupted the financial advisory industry in the distribution of life insurance products in Singapore – the leveraging of iFAST’s established online platform to reach out to its wide client base was not only innovative but also efficient, allowing iFAST to save on distribution costs. These cost savings could then be passed on to consumers through a significant commission rebate. However, a few days later, iFAST withdrew the Fundsupermart Offer due to collective pressure from the Parties.