Investors were decidedly nonplussed by the Competition and Market Authority (CMA)'s recommendations for an "open banking" revolution in the UK's retail banking sector this morning.
Share prices at London-listed organisations moved in most directions, with the big lenders slightly outperforming the market, but challengers heading both up and down - suggesting traders aren't convinced the CMA's work will shake up the industry significantly.
Barclays shares climbed 0.8 per cent to 158.5p in the first hour of trading. RBS was also up by 1.6 per cent. HSBC climbed, though less emphatically, managing a 0.5 per cent gain. While Lloyds clocked just a 0.4 per cent rise, as speculation about the latest tranche of the government's sell-off appears to be driving movements there.
Challenger banks showed practically no reaction to the CMA report, which was supposed to prompt current account switching and make it easier for small banks to challenge the big players. Virgin Money was swinging between red and green in the first hour of the day, while Metrobank was down 0.2 per cent. Aldermore jumped 0.7 per cent, but Shawbrook slumped by 1.4 per cent.
Commentators were also sceptical about how big an impact the CMA's recommendations would have.
Isabelle Jenkins, UK banking leader at PwC said: "This package of measures will go some way towards addressing customer apathy towards bank account switching. But there needs to be a more even playing field between established banks, challengers and fintech firms for the full benefits to be passed on to consumers."
The British Chambers of Commerce added: "The CMA’s final report is likely to be met with a mixed response from the business community, but there are some initiatives that will help boost competition."
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