This Antitrust Policy (“Policy”) of Stablecoin Standard Limited (“Association”) is developed and enforced for the benefit and protection of the Association and its Members.
The Competition and Markets Authority (‘CMA’) is the UK national competition authority and the main body responsible for enforcing competition law in the UK. Anti-competitive behaviour in the UK is governed by the Chapter I and Chapter II prohibitions in the Competition Act 1998. The CMA also has powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 to review mergers, carry out market studies and market investigations, and to investigate criminal cartel conduct.
Antitrust considerations are particularly important for trade associations because, by their nature, trade associations bring together potential and actual competitors. A quintessential antitrust violation involves competitors coming together and proposing or reaching an agreement to engage in some form of anticompetitive behavior (e.g., price-fixing). For that reason, any meeting between competitors can appear, from an outsider’s perspective, to be the potential source for an anticompetitive agreement. By promoting and adhering to this policy, the Association seeks to mitigate and guard against the risk of antitrust violations, or even the appearance of impropriety due to the meeting of its members. The Association is fully committed to compliance with all applicable laws, including UK antitrust laws, and all other jurisdictions in which the Association may operate or wherein its members may reside.
1.2 Duty to Comply
Each member, participant, or attendee at any Association associated event—including, but not limited to, all working group and leadership meetings—has the duty to comply with this Antitrust Policy. Failure to comply with the Antitrust Policy will result in the immediate expulsion of the member, participant, or attendee from the meeting or event at which the violation occurred.
2. Compliance with Laws
2.1 General Obligations
This Association and its members must comply with all applicable competition law rules at all times. The Association members commit not to enter into any discussion, activity or conduct that may infringe any applicable competition laws. For example, competitors shall not directly or indirectly discuss, communicate or exchange any commercially sensitive information, including non-public information relating to commercial strategy, pricing, costs or revenues.
The Association members must provide appropriate legal counsel to its representatives participating in Association initiatives, so as to ensure that those individuals are aware of the applicable antitrust laws and the restrictions that those laws impose on the participating individuals; specifically, with respect to the information that may lawfully be shared or discussed among competitors.
2.2 Specific Prohibitions
2.2.1. Agreements on Prices, Output, or Allocation of Customers or Territories
Members, whether actual or potential competitors, shall not discuss, disclose, communicate about, or form an agreement on their prices; discounts; terms or conditions of sale or licensing of products or services; pricing methods; profits, profit margins, or cost data; production plans; market shares; sales territories or markets; allocation of territories or customers; or any limitation on the timing, cost or volume of their research, production or sales.
Members of the Association shall not attempt to bring about any understanding or agreement, written or oral, formal or informal, express or implied, between and among competitors with regard to their prices; terms or conditions of sale; distribution; volume of production; territories; customers; credit terms or marketing practices.
Each member of the Association is obligated and expected to exercise its independent business judgment in pricing its services or products, dealing with its customers and suppliers, and choosing the markets in which it will compete.
2.2.2. Denial of Access, Boycotts, Refusals to Deal
Members of the Association shall not use their membership rights or participation in any Association initiative for the purpose of preventing or attempting to prevent any person (a) from gaining access to any market or customer for goods and services; (b) from obtaining a supply of goods or services; or (c) from otherwise purchasing goods or services freely in the market.
Likewise, members shall not enter into any agreement or understanding among themselves to refrain, or to encourage others to refrain, from purchasing any raw materials, product, equipment, services or other supplies from any supplier or vendor or from dealing with any supplier or vendor.
2.2.3. Anticompetitive Informational Exchanges
At all Association-hosted meetings or events, members should refrain from disclosing business information to any other member that is not reasonably related to the legitimate purposes of the meeting or event.
- Conduct of Meetings
Members should refer to this Antitrust Policy prior to the start of each Association-associated meeting in which more than one member will be participating. Written agendas for all meetings of the Association, or meetings of multiple Association members under the auspices of the Association, will be prepared and circulated in advance to all invitees. All meeting agendas must contain the following statement: “All meeting participants are reminded that this meeting must adhere to competition law rules and, as such, no confidential or commercially sensitive information should be shared directly or indirectly between competitors.”
The Association will refer to the Antitrust Policy at the start of each meeting to confirm that each member is obligated to participate in the meeting in a manner consistent with the terms of this Policy. Specifically, members are not permitted to (a) engage in any anti-competitive behavior, (b) suggest that others engage in anticompetitive behavior, or (c) conduct themselves in any other way that would violate any applicable antitrust laws.
At the start of all meetings, the following statement must be read out: “All meeting participants are reminded that this meeting must adhere to the Antitrust Policy and competition law rules and, as such, no confidential or commercially sensitive information will be shared directly or indirectly between competitors. A written agenda for this meeting has been circulated in advance. Discussions will keep to the agenda.” Written minutes for all meetings of the Association, or meetings of multiple Association members under the auspices of the Association, will be prepared and circulated for comment/approval to all invitees.