What is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was originally created to encourage market competition and to protect consumers by breaking up monopolies and monitoring mergers and acquisition activity.

It has now branched out into more areas in the pursuit of consumer protection and fair markets. The FTC is now comprised of three bureaus: Consumer Protection, Competition, and Economics. They protect consumers from fraudulent business activity and monopolistic business practices.

They fulfill their mission through advocacy, investigation, and litigation. They are responsible for the National Do Not Call Registry, which levies heavy fines against companies which violate it by making solicitous calls to consumers who have opted-out.

They investigate consumer reports of fraud and bad business practices. When mergers and acquisitions are proposed, they FTC will make sure it won’t hinder competition in the marketplace.

One field in which they have been particularly active in monitoring and unwinding merger activity is in the healthcare industry where large hospital systems have driven prices up for consumers after acquiring their local clinics and hospitals. They perform this function within the jurisdiction of certain industries and markets but not others.

The SEC is also concerned with business practices, but only with regards to the securities the issue and the related reporting requirements. The FTC focuses on general business practices, but they can sometimes overlap with the SEC.

What is the FCC?
What are Federal Agencies?