Report on Banking Services to SMEs for Office of Fair Trading

Access to Finance, GBRW Consulting, GBRW Group, SME Banking

The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) was a non-ministerial government department of the United Kingdom, established by the Fair Trading Act 1973, which enforced both consumer protection and competition law, acting as the United Kingdom's economic regulator.

The OFT's goal was to make markets work well for consumers, ensuring vigorous competition between fair dealing businesses and prohibiting unfair practices such as rogue trading, scams, and cartels. The OFT’s role has now been assumed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
GBRW provided assistance to the OFT in the formulation of the terms of reference of studies involving changes in the supply of banking services to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) by the 8 major British Clearing Banks. Acting as facilitator, assisting the banks to reach agreement amongst themselves on terms of reference that they propose.

GBRW also provided advice to the OFT on specialised banking issues and questions related to ‘technical difficulties’ raised by the banks during the development of the undertakings related to the behavioural and transitional remedies. This included acting as an ‘intelligent customer’ in respect of the studies that are conducted by the banks – to comment on the robustness of the analysis and whether recommendations are sound and practicable and meet the intended objectives of the study.

Act as ‘intelligent customer’ in respect of the studies that are conducted by the banks – to comment on the robustness of the analysis and whether recommendations are sound and practicable and meet the intended objectives of the study.

Deliverables included:

- Management of a group of stakeholders including the major British Clearing Banks

- Development of a detailed Terms of Reference for the study

- Acting as a hypothetical ‘intelligent’ consumer

- Identification of technical and/ or cultural barriers to access to finance for SMEs

- Preparation and submission of a detailed analysis and report