Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii advised ING Continental Europe Holding BV on the Romanian Competition Council’s investigation into the private pension fund market which began in 2007.
By order of the Competition Council’s President, the investigation into potentially anticompetitive behavior by six undertakings active on the market of privately managed mandatory pension funds (Pillar II) in Romania was ended. The suspicion that the investigated parties` had engaged in concerted practices through lobbying activities was rejected by the Competition Council’s investigation team after a lengthy review of the supporting documents and arguments brought by the parties.
The team from Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii advising ING Continental Europe Holding BV (the parent company of ING Asigurări de Viaţă and ING Fond de Pensii, both active entities in Romania) comprised competition lawyers Raluca Vasilache (Partner), Anca Jurcovan (Managing Associate) and Andreea Oprişan (Senior Associate).
"We welcome the final decision by the Competition Council as an in-depth and sound judgment based on all circumstances of the case at hand and on the evidence submitted by the parties. From our experience in advising on various investigations conducted by the competition watchdog, this case proved particularly complex, and valid logical and economic arguments played a decisive part. However, the conclusion that lobbying activities by companies active on a certain market fall outside the scope of competition law, irrespective of the lobbying methods or the nature of the information exchanged among the participants, is totally wrong. A thorough analysis is needed on a case-by-case basis and, irrespective of the circumstances, the exchange of sensitive business information between competitors must be avoided", said Raluca Vasilache, Head of the Competition practice group at Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii.
Praised for their work on merger control, antitrust and state aid cases, the firm’s competition lawyers have undertaken numerous procedures reviewing mergers and acquisitions under antitrust and competition law, acting for multinational clients from various sectors, such as telecommunications, consumer goods, retail, oil, steel, pharmaceuticals and electricity. Each year, Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii’s expertise in competition law receives impressive plaudits from leading international legal directories, the firm having been ranked first by Chambers Europe and PLC Which Lawyer. The scope of services in this area includes advice on the application of competition (antitrust) law in various domestic and cross-border transactions (mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures etc). Furthermore, the firm’s competition lawyers have successfully assisted well known clients during antitrust investigations conducted by the Romanian Competition Council and have been involved, on the side of both private and public bodies, in some of the most important state aid cases impacting on the Romanian market.