Commissioner Dror Strum is taking steps to improve the Antitrust Authority after Israel slipped from 2nd to 22nd place in the Global Competition Review list of watchdogs in July this year.

In its study, Rating the Enforcers, Israel's Antitrust Authority was rated 22nd out of 26 agencies, with a grade of 2.5 out of 5.

After studying the report, Strum has made changes in internal procedures at the Antitrust Authority to expedite handling of complaints and transaction requests, TheMarker has learned.

Among other things, the Antitrust Authority has decided to set clear priorities for each department.

Regarding priorities, working with his department chiefs, Strum set out clear priorities for each unit. For instance, the communications department will focus most of its efforts on the following goals: monitoring the development of competition in commercial television between Channel 2 and Channel 10, and handling the cellular operators' complaints about the state-run phone company Bezeq abusing its monopolistic status.

In the financial market sphere, the team's priorities were defined as removing obstacles to competition between credit card companies and banks, such as obstacles preventing people from shifting custom from one bank to another.

The authority has also set a goal of handling complaints from the public within 30 days, and is installing a "hotline" to the commissioner himself in the form of an email address accessible through the Antitrust Authority's website.

The GCR survey was carried out through questionnaires distributed among among lawyers specializing in antitrust law. The lawyers, who respond anonymously, were asked to rate the Antitrust Authority of their country according to specific categories.

The categories include merger handling, cartel handling, economic expertise, independence, consistency, guidance, staffing issues and leadership.

The top billing went to the United States authorities, which both received a 5 grade. For second place, England, France and Germany tied with a grade of 4.5. The EU as a whole won a grade of 4, together with Italy and Australia.

Israel, as said, won a grade of 2.5 together with Greece. Lagging behind were Argentina, Mexico with 2, South Africa with 1.5 and Brazil with 1.

The GCR found that Israel's Antitrust Authority was thought to be "disastrously" inefficient, but to have the highest grade of expertise in economic matters.

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