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The Regulatory Policy Institute (RPI) is an independent, charitable organisation dedicated to the study of regulation and deregulation.
Annual Competition & Regulation Conferences

The Institute holds its Annual Competition & Regulation Policy Conference each September, usually at Merton College. The event extends over two days and includes a conference dinner formally inducting the RPI's Distinguished Fellows. Ten to twelve papers are presented by distinguished speakers on a a range of legal and economic matters and, as with the seminars, numbers are restricted so as to promote substantive discussion among those attending. Since 2005 this conference has been held in association with the Centre for Competition & Regulatory Policy, City University, London.

Details of the conferences (including papers and slides where possible) from 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003 and earlier conferences are available below. (No conference was held in 2006.)

Held at Merton College, Oxford. The discovery, assessment, and use of evidence in regulatory and competition law decision making (programme)

The 'interests of consumers': discovering and determining what they are

  • Sonia Brown (Visa & RPI), chair
  • Rachel Fletcher (Ofwat): The regulator's challenge: an Ofwat perspective slides
  • Dr Tony Ballance (Severn Trent): How do we discover what consumers really, really want from their water provider? slides

Investigative methods for understanding consumers and consumer behaviour

  • Sonia Brown (Visa & RPI), chair
  • Stefan Hunt (CMA) An evaluation of the suite of analytic methods available to help understand consumer behaviour slides
  • Prof Catherine Waddams (UEA): Academic contributions to understanding consumer requirements and behaviour' slides

Zeeman Lecture: Regulation and competition with captive customers

  • Prof Sir John Vickers (All Souls College, Oxford) slides.

Judging the evidence in exclusionary abuse of dominance cases

  • Peter Freeman (CAT), chair
  • Chris Decker (Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford): Cognitive biases in the discovery and assessment of evidence in competition law cases slides
  • George Yarrow (RPI): .Motivation as a connecting thread'

What can be learned from comparisons between information processing systems/structures adopted in different economic contexts?

  • Gordon Downie (Shepherd and Wedderburn), chair
  • David Gray (Ofgem): Two projects, two approaches: trialling Ofgem responses to the CMA database recommendation and the Data Services slides
  • Cathryn Ross (BT): Reflections on differences and similarities between information discovery in communications and water services
  • Steve Smith (Lloyd's & RPI): Mapping consumer requirements and behaviour in retail energy and in retail finance services slides

Held at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Programme (pdf)

Implications of the digital revolution for competition policy/law

Digital comparison tools - the CMA market study and beyond

  • Tim Tutton (RPI, CMA), chair
  • Daniel Gordon (CMA) slides
  • Catherine Waddams (UEA) slides

Zeeman Lecture: Brexit and the Political Economy of Regulation

Where we have got to and prospective challenges in relation to large infrastructure developments?

  • Sonia Brown (RPI, Visa), chair
  • Andrew Walker (CAA), Challenges of a new runway for economic regulation slides
  • Michael Kell (NAO), Hinkley Point: Value for Money? And lessons for major infrastructure decisions slides

Comparative sectoral perspectives on where we have got to and the prospective challenges we face

  • Mary Starks (FCA), chair
  • Jonanthan Brearley (Ofgem), Current challenges and future directions for energy regulation slides
  • Clive Carter (Ofcom), Regulating digital communications: promoting competition and investment
  • Cathryn Ross (Ofwat), Where next for UK utility regulation? A perspective from the water sector

Comparative sectoral perspectives on where we have got to and the prospective challenges we face

  • Hannah Nixon (PSR), chair
  • Sonia Brown (Visa Europe)
  • Regina Finn (Lucerna Partners) summary
  • Amelia Fletcher (UEA) slides
  • Daniel Gordon (CMA)

Held at Merton College, Oxford. Programme (pdf)

Early-stage liberalisation and market opening issues

  • Sir Bryan Carsberg, opening speaker and chair
  • Eileen Marshall (also conveying views of Clare Spottiswoode)
  • Stephen Littlechild
  • Sir Ian Byatt
  • Sir Callum McCarthy

Liberalisation and competition policy in more developed market contexts

  • Harry Bush, opening speaker and chair
  • Stephen Littlechild
  • Steve Smith
  • Michael Cutting
  • Tom Sharpe QC
  • Alex Neill

Zeeman Lecture: “Better to travel hopefully than to arrive”? The Reform of UK Competition Law 1991-2016

  • Peter Freeman

Responses to variations in regulatory contexts and the emergence of new issues

  • Sir Callum McCarthy, opening speaker and chair
  • Sir Ian Byatt
  • Jo Butlin
  • Lord Currie
  • George Yarrow (also conveying views of Sir John Vickers)

The evolution of network price determination processes

  • David Gray, opening speaker and chair
  • Sir Ian Byatt
  • Harry Bush
  • Stephen Littlechild
  • Steve Smith

Keynote address: The evolution of energy regulation in Australia

  • John Pierce, Chair, Australian Energy Market Commission

Organisational cultures and governance

  • Martin Stanley, opening speaker and chair
  • Sir Callum McCarthy
  • Eileen Marshall
  • Lord Currie
  • Maxine Frerk

Learning from others

  • Euan Morton (Synergies, Brisbane), opening speaker and chair
  • John Pierce
  • Mark Jamison (PURC, Florida)
  • Graham Shuttleworth
  • George Yarrow (also conveying views of Irwin Stelzer)

Held at Merton College, Oxford. Programme (pdf)

Convened as a symposium.

Mapping the boundary between consumer protection policy and competition policy: when does consumer protection become anti-competitive?

  • Lead speaker: John Fingleton, Fingleton Associates
  • Jenny Block, Pinsent Masons: discussant
  • David Stewart, Towerhouse: discussant

The economics and law of vertical restraints: where have we got to?

  • Lead speaker: Mike Walker, CMA
  • Patrick Harrison, Sidley Austin: discussant
  • George Yarrow, RPI: discussant

Keynote speech: Jonson Cox

Regulatory implications of networks in decline

  • Lead speaker: Chris Decker, Oxford University
  • Martin Crouch, Ofgem: discussant

Unbundling, ring-fencing and business separation policies across sectors: retrospective and prospective

  • Lead speaker: Mary Starks, FCA
  • David Gray, GEMA: discussant
  • Steve Unger, Ofcom: discussant
  • Alan Sutherland, WICS: discussant

International competition among regulatory systems: how much does relative performance matter?

  • Lead speaker: George Yarrow, RPI
  • Joe Perkins, NAO: discussant

Zeeman Lecture: Steve Smith, Lloyd's Banking Group “The use and abuse of the notion of effective competition: Carroll, Orwell and McCarthy revisited?”

Held at Merton College, Oxford. Programme (pdf)

As always the programme sought to promote the exchange of insights across traditional intellectual and professional boundaries (e.g. economic/legal) and among different groups involved or interested in regulatory processes (regulators, regulatees, academics, advisors, policymakers, etc.). There was a particular emphasis this pre-election year on issues that cut-across all regulated areas, including what might be called ‘the politics of markets’.

Divestment as a remedy in competition cases

  • Peter Freeman, Competition Appeal Tribunal (chair)
  • Professor Amelia Fletcher, UEA and FCA (presentation)
  • Adrian Majumdar, RBB Economics (presentation)

Engagement and simplification in consumer policy

  • Mary Starks, Financial Conduct Authority (chair)
  • Professor Catherine Waddams, UEA (presentation)
  • Matt Whittle, MoneySuperMarket.com (presentation)

Keynote address: Dermot Nolan, Ofgem The Future of Energy Regulation (presentation)

Regulating for Innovation

Frontiers of liberalisation

  • Tim Tutton, Imperial College, CMA and RPI (chair) Introduction
  • Alex Chisholm, CMA (presentation)
  • Regina Finn, Lucerna Partners

Zeeman Lecture: Professor George Yarrow, RPI The political economy of markets (presentation)

Panel discussion: Is there a new politics of markets?

  • Professor Stephen Littlechild (chair)
  • Nick Fincham, Thames Water
  • Regina Finn, Lucerna Partners
  • David Gray, Ofgem
  • Tim Tutton, Imperial College and RPI
  • Professor George Yarrow, RPI

Held at Merton College, Oxford. Programme (pdf)

The theme of this conference was getting the balance right between competition and regulatory intervention to protect consumers, with particular reference to financial services and energy markets. Sessions on the first day focussed on the current developments in financial services regulation with a complementary session on developments in market power assessments and controlling its abuse.

The second day discussions concentrated on reform of energy markets, with a look at proposals for wholesale market changes, the role of technology and consumer changes in retail markets, and a wider consideration of the relationship between infrastructure investment, economic growth and affordability.

The conference concluded with the Inaugural Lecture of our new Zeeman Lecture Series.

Competition and conduct regulation in financial services

  • Simon Gaysford - Frontier Economics (chair)
  • Chris Woolard, Financial Conduct Authority
  • Anthony Thomson, Financial Services Forum
  • Tony Boorman, Financial Ombudsman

Market power assessment and controlling its abuse

  • Thomas Sharpe QC - One Essex Court (chair)
  • Prof Amelia Fletcher - University of East Anglia: Can Analysis of Dominance be taken UPPwards? Possible Lessons from Mergers (presentation)
  • Gunnar Niels - Oxera: Market power and abuse: competition and regulatory intervention (presentation)
  • Maurits Dolmans - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP: What is Market Power and Dominance? Lessons from the Google case (presentation)

Keynote speech: Sir John Vickers: Banking reform five years on (presentation)

Wholesale energy market reform

  • Nigel Evans - Regulatory Policy Institute (chair)
  • Dan Roberts - Frontier Economics
  • Rachel Fletcher - Ofgem: Electricity Wholesale Market Reform (presentation)
  • Chris Harris - RWE npower

The power of technology and consumers in energy retail markets

  • Cloda Jenkins - UCL (chair)
  • Stuart Cook - PwC: The power of technology and consumers (presentation)
  • Jim Cardwell - Northern Powergrid: Northern Powergrid (presentation)
  • Amanda Williams - British Gas: The power of technology and consumers in energy retail markets Smart meters and beyond (presentation)

Infrastructure investment, growth and affordability

  • Peter Bucks - Regulatory Policy Institute (chair)
  • Adam Scorer - Consumer Futures: Infrastructure and Affordability (presentation)
  • Sir Michael Pitt - Planning Inspectorate: Streamlining NI Planning (presentation)

Inaugural Zeeman Lecture: Professor Paul Klemperer: New Auction Designs for Public Policy

Held at Merton College, Oxford, in conjunction with the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy, City University, London. Programme (pdf)

This conference examined decision-making in the regulatory and competition policy arena, with sessions focused on aspects of decision-making by the various parties involved – consumers, companies, regulators, and politicians.

Understanding of consumer behaviour and the implications for competition law and regulation: Theory and practice

  • John Pheasant - Hogan Lovells (chair)
  • Peter Andrews - Financial Conduct Authority (presentation)
  • Kirsten Edwards-Warren - Director of Economics, OFT (presentation)
  • Simon Gaysford – Director, Frontier Economics (presentation)

The application of behavioural economics to retail banking and retail energy markets

  • Dr Sebastian Eyre – Head of Energy Market Regulation, EDF Energy (chair)
  • Steve Smith – Director, Retail Competition & Regulatory Strategy, Lloyds Banking Group (presentation)
  • Andrew Wright – Senior Partner, Markets, Ofgem (presentation)

Session 4

  • Clive Maxwell – incoming Chief Executive, OFT (speech, slides)

Conflicting regulatory objectives and the relationships between regulatory agencies and government departments

  • David Gray (chair)
  • Professor Gordon Hughes, University of Edinburgh
  • Tim Tutton – Imperial College (presentation)

Decision making in telecoms: The role of the Competition Commission

  • Suzanne Rab, King & Spalding (chair)
  • Roger Witcomb – Chairman, Competition Commission 9 (presentation)
  • Mark Falcon - Head of Economic Regulation, Hutchison 3G (presentation)

The nature of the multilateral relationships between consumers, regulators, companies and politicians

  • Christine Farnish, Chair, Consumer Focus (chair)
  • Dame Deirdre Hutton – Chair, Civil Aviation Authority
  • Ed Richards – Chief Executive, Ofcom
  • Cathryn Ross – Executive Director of Railway Markets & Economics, Office of Rail Regulation (presentation)
  • Christine McGourty – Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Energy UK (presentation)

Held at Merton College, Oxford, in conjunction with the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy, City University, London.
Programme (pdf)

Competition and media plurality: A test too far?

  • Suzanne Rab, King & Spalding (chair)
  • Antonio Bavasso, Allen & Overy LLP
  • Professor Cosmo Graham, CCES, University of Leicester (slides)

The UK competition regime: Too many checks and balances?

  • John Pheasant, Hogan Lovells (chair)
  • Sarah Chambers, BIS
  • Professor John Pickering, former member Competition Appeal Tribunal, (tables)

Day 1 wrap up

  • Professor George Yarrow, RPI (chair)
  • Peter Freeman QC, former Chairman, Competition Commission

Competition, regulation and innovation: Does traditional regulation stifle innovation?

  • Professor Tony Appleyard, University of Newcastle (chair)
  • Professor Adrian Towse, Office of Health Economics (slides)
  • Professor George Yarrow, Regulatory Policy Institute (slides)

Frontiers of competition: Promoting competition in challenging policy environments

  • Matthew Bell, Frontier Economics (chair)
  • Sonia Brown, Monitor
  • Professor Gordon Hughes, WICS (paper)

Price control regulation: Is simplicity possible or desirable?

  • Dr Harry Bush, KPMG (chair)
  • Dr Tony Balance, Severn Trent (slides)
  • David Gray, Lead Reviewer, OfWat (slides)
  • Professor Stephen Littlechild, Judge Business School
  • Simon Oates, Royal Mail

Held at Merton College, Oxford, in conjunction with the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy, City University, London.
Programme (pdf)

UK competition policy structure: Challenges to the existing institutions

  • John Pheasant, Hogan Lovells (chair)
  • Sir Christopher Bellamy QC, Linklaters
  • Cavendish Elithorn, Office of Fair Trading
  • Dr Nigel Parr, Ashurst (slides)
  • Professor George Yarrow, Regulatory Policy Institute

Intellectual property rights and competition policy: Friends or foes

  • Professor George Yarrow, Regulatory Policy Institute (chair)
  • Irwin Stelzer, Centre for Policy Studies
The financial crisis: Underlying causes and consequences for financial regulation

  • Sir Callum McCarthy (chair)
  • Professor Philip Booth, IEA and Cass Business School (presentation)
  • Dr Thomas Huertas, FSA (slides)

Energy and environmental policy: The role of competitive markets

  • Dr Nigel Evans, Regulatory Policy Institute (chair)
  • Professor Robert Hahn, Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester (slides)
  • Dan Roberts, Frontier Economics (slides)

UK utility infrastructure investment: Who decides, who pays and who bears the risk? The evolving role of government, markets and the sectoral regulators

  • Peter Bucks, Regulatory Policy Institute (chair)
  • Nick Fincham, Thames Water Utilities Ltd.
  • Alan Lazarus, BT Group (slides)
  • Hannah Nixon, Ofgem (slides)

Held at Merton College, Oxford, in conjunction with the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy, City University, London.
Programme (pdf)

Implications of the EU pharmaceuticals inquiry

  • John Pheasant, Hogan & Hartson (chair)
  • Philipp Gasparon, DG Competition Pharma Task Force, "Pharmaceutical sector inquiry: Final report"
  • Dr John Temple Lang, Cleary Gottlieb Steen, "Implications of the Eu pharmaceuticals inquiry" (paper)
  • Professor Adrian Towse, Office of Health Economics, "Implications of the EU pharmaceutical inquiry: A few issues" (slides)

What are the nature and characteristics of successful retail competition in network industries

  • Professor Stephen Littlechild, Judge Business School, "Retail electricity competition" (slides)
  • Professor Catherine Waddams, UEA, "Price differences and retail energy competition" (slides)
  • Philip Davies, Centrica, "What next for retail competition in energy?" (slides)

Government in markets

  • Professor George Yarrow, Regulatory Policy Institute (chair)
  • John Fingleton, Office of Fair Trading, "Government in markets" (paper available on the OFT website)

Competition in the UK airports market: What next?

  • Dr Chris Decker, Regulatory Policy Institute (chair)
  • Nick Fincham, Civil Aviation Authority, "Competition between airports: What next?" (slides)
  • Kyran Hanks, WWA, "Thoughts on airport regulation" (slides)
  • David Starkie, Case Associates, "Airports: Is sector regulation now obsolete?" (slides)

Use and misuse of economics in competition and regulatory policy

  • Professor John Pickering (chair)
  • Thomas B. Leary, Hogan & Hartson, "The ongoing role of economics in U.S. antitrust law" (paper)
  • Professor George Yarrow, Regulatory Policy Institute

Energy security of supply: Implications for and interactions with market liberalization, environmental policy and infrastructure investment

  • David Gray, Regulatory Policy Institute (chair)
  • Andrew Wright, Ofgem, "Can the GB gas and electricity markets deliver security of supply?" (slides)
  • Enese Lieb-Doczy, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), "Energy security of supply: implications for and interactions with market liberalization, environmental policy and infrastructure investment"
  • Paul Dawson, RWE Supply & Trading, "Competitive, sustainable and secure energy: how markets deliver" (slides)
  • Dr Alan Riley , City University

Held at Merton College, Oxford, in conjunction with the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy, City University, London.
Programme (pdf)

New challenges in competition law

  • Jim Venit, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, "Developments in the enforcement of Articles 81 & 82"
  • John Pheasant, Hogan and Hartson, "The new shipping guidelines" (slides)

New Challenges in competition law: The economic issues

  • Robin Noble, Oxera, "Damages actions: the relationship with and effect on enforcement" (slides)
  • Dr Mark Williams, NERA Economic Consulting Ltd, "Economics assessments in merger cases" (slides)

Pharmaceuticals: Is public policy chilling innovation and entry?

  • Linda Horton, Hogan and Hartson, "Product regulation issues"
  • Adrian Towse, Office of Health Economics, "The new PPRS and how we got to it"
  • Diane Dawson, University of Cambridge, "EU competition policy and healthcare services" (slides)

Prospects for Competition in Water Services

  • Phillip Dixon, Ofwat, "Competition in water and wastewater services" (slides)
  • Alan Sutherland, Water Industry Commission for Scotland, "The experience of market opening in Scotland"
  • Professor George Yarrow, Regulatory Policy Institute, "Abstractions trading and access issues"

Environmental Policy and Energy Markets

  • Steve Smith, Ofgem, "Environmental priorities, transmission access issues, and implications for wholesale market competition" (slides)
  • Thomas C. Briggs, BP Alternative Energy, "Developments in energy and environmental policy: and alternative energy perspective" (slides)
  • Christian Schneller, E.ON Netz, "The German wind power experience" (slides)

Developing policy for next-generation networks in telecoms: three company views

  • Richard Feasey, Vodafone (slides)
  • Marcus Weinkopf, Deutsche Telekom (slides)

Held at Merton College, Oxford, in conjunction with the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy, City University, London.
Programme (pdf)


  • John Davies, Chief Economist, Competition Commission, Market Investigations in regulated sectors (slides)
  • Tony Donaldson, Director of Economics, Office of Fair Trading, "Competition, regulation and market references - UK airports" (slides)
  • George Yarrow, Director, Regulatory Policy Institute, Albion water and the ECPR (slides)
  • Mary Anne Mason, Partner, Hogan & Hartson, "Energy market manipulation: Case studies from the United States experience" (slides & paper)
  • Stephen Smith, Managing Director Markets, Ofgem, "Policing wholesale energy markets: Reflections from GB experience" (slides)
  • John Pheasant, Partner, Hogan & Hartson, Slots at Congested Airports: The limitations of competition law (paper)
  • Annette Egginton, Head of Competition Policy, Office of Rail Regulation, "Franchised passenger services and 'excessive' pricing" (slides)
  • Paolo Palmigiano, Head of Competition and Regulatory Law, BT Group, "Margin squeeze and the BT/Wanadoo case" (slides & paper)
  • Steve Unger, Director of Competition Policy, Ofcom, "Openreach and the BT undertakings" (slides)
  • John Temple Lang, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, "The use of competition law powers for regulatory purposes" (paper)

Other speakers

  • Michael Grenfell, Partner (competition, regulatory, EU), Norton Rose, London
  • Dr. Frank Maier-Rigaud, Economist, DG Competition (Policy), European Commission
  • Dr. Mark Williams, Director, NERA Economic Consulting, London and Brussels
  • Sean Williams, Executive Director of Markets and Projects, Office of Fair Trading

Held at Harris Manchester College, Oxford

Intellectual property rights and competition policy; regulation, bidding markets and antitrust

  • Professor George Yarrow (chair)
  • Professor Carl Baudenbacher, President, EFTA Court
  • Robert O’Donoghue, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, "Compulsory dealing under Article 82 EC" (slides) & "Refusal to deal" (slides)
  • Ian Forrester QC, White & Case LLP
  • Irwin Stelzer, Hudson Institute & RPI, "Regulation: An imperfect substitute for imperfect competition" (slides)
  • Professor Paul Klemperer, Member, Competition Commission & Edgeworth Professor of Economics, University of Oxford, "Bidding markets" (slides)

Current issues surrounding the abuse of dominance

  • Dr. Irwin Stelzer, Hudson Institute and RPI (chair)
  • Sir John Vickers, Chairman, Office of Fair Trading, "What is competition on the merits?" (slides)
  • John Fingleton, Chair, Competition Authority, Ireland, "Towards an Effects-Based Approach to Article 82 EC" (slides)
  • Lucas Peeperkorn, European Commission, "Policy Review under Article 82" (slides)
  • Dr. John Temple Lang, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton,"Fundamental Issues Concerning Abuse Under Article 82 EC" (paper)

Mock merger hearing

  • Peter Freeman, Deputy Chairman, Competition Commission and Chairman, RPI (chair)

Merger materials were prepared by John Wotton, Allen & Overy, with participation by

  • Samantha Mobley, Baker & McKenzie
  • Christina Caffarra, CRAI
  • Dr Mark Williams, NERA

The format for the hearing was similar to that adopted for the Enterprise Act ‘mock trial’ that was organised as part of the 2003 conference: arguments and evidence were presented in relation to a hypothetical transaction, the parties were questioned, followed by a summing up from the Chair.

Mock merger materials:

Held at Merton College, Oxford.

Among the presentations at the 2004 conference were:

  • Professor John Vickers, Office of Fair Trading, "Good Government for Free Markets" (paper)
  • Professor George Yarrow, Director, RPI, "Antitrust and Regulation: An Uncertain Boundary?" (slides)
  • Peter Freeman, Deputy Chairman, Competition Commission and Chairman, RPI, "UK Merger Control Procedure: the Competition Commission Perspective" (paper)


  • Dr. Zoltan Biro, Frontier Economics
  • Grey Denham, GKN plc.
  • Peter Freeman, RPI, Competition Commission
  • Peter Roth QC, Monckton Chambers
  • Tom Sharpe QC, One Essex Court
  • Irwin Stelzer, RPI, The Sunday Times, Hudson Institute
  • John Swift QC, Monckton Chambers
  • Dr. Mark Williams, NERA

Mock trial transcript

The following papers and presentations from conferences held before 2003 are available:

  • Professor John Vickers, Chairman, OFT, "Merger Guidelines: A Comparative Perspective" (slides)
  • Mr Jonathan Rees, DTI, "EU Modernisation: Making it Work in the UK" (slides)
  • Dr. Derek Morris, "Developments in Competition Policy: Mergers and Oligopolies" (paper)
  • Professor Paul Klemperer, "What Really Matters in Auction Design" (slides)