The Services Division deals with restraints of competition in banking and insurance, medical services, the liberal professions, advertising and various other personal and commercial services. It is also responsible for the markets in the education, culture, leisure and sports sectors.
In the banking and insurance sector, traditional agreements affecting competition are largely a thing of the past. Today, it is mainly mergers and dominant positions that are subject to legal procedures. Due to economic globalization, the Division is often called on to provide advice on structural changes and mergers.
Price-fixing agreements and restraints on advertising are the main issue in relation to the liberal professions. Some of these agreements have been eliminated or their restrictions eased under the new Cartel Act. This means that is now possible to negotiate prices with members of these professions. The restrictions imposed by agreements could still be eased in other professions.
The new Health Insurance Act has a substantial influence on the situation in the medical services markets. This has led to a reallocation of roles between health insurance companies and medical services providers. Health insurance companies, now facing competition in the insurance market, are putting more market pressure on service providers. However, because of government regulations (i.e. subsidies for public hospitals) and strong cartels, there is still little competition in this market. The Competition Commission regularly gives its opinion on governmental regulations that affect competition without justification.