The Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority (JCRA) has announced it will conduct a series of market studies as part of its annual work programme.
A market study is a flexible tool to explore whether a market is working well for Jersey consumers. It considers the relationship between consumer behaviour in a market, the behaviour of firms in that market, and the market’s structure. By looking at these relationships, the JCRA can determine whether action that will encourage changes to consumer behaviour, business behaviour, or both, will help address any market problems found.
The outcomes of a market study may be one or more of the following:
- A clean bill of health for the market;
- Consumer/business focused action;
- Non-binding recommendations to Government; and/or
- Investigation and enforcement action.
Consistent with the JCRA’s prioritisation principles, the focus is on markets where there is the potential to have the greatest impact for Jersey consumers.
For each market study the JCRA will publish terms of reference setting out the scope of the study and proposed timeframe, and is likely to work with sector-specific experts. The JCRA is also likely to issue a call for information from interested parties.
Before issuing its final report on the market study outcome, the JCRA may release an interim report and findings to seek views. Any recommendations in the final report will be non-binding on Government, but may include recommended measures to improve the performance of markets, such as changes to regulation, policy or the conduct of market participants.
Senior Economic Case Officer Peter Hetherington (shown in the main picture) says: “Market studies are a valuable means of building a helicopter view of how a market is performing: It is commonplace in other jurisdictions for competition regulators to take a closer look at sectors of the economy that have a significant impact on the wellbeing of consumers and citizens generally.”
“In many instances nothing untoward will be discovered, but where changes or improvements in the way a market is operating can be made, then the results of a market study can help inform policy and strategy, and in some cases the JCRA can take direct action to intervene.”
The JCRA has undertaken a number of market studies in the past including the freight market, fuel market, groceries market and motor trade market. These can be viewed on the JCRA’s website . It’s expected that the first market study will be confirmed in June 2021.