Within the academic marketing literature the importance of government policy and regulatory judgement receives far less scrutiny than is justified. To illustrate the importance of government regulation broadly and the new UK competition law framework specifically, a single regulatory case is examined: the Competition Commission assessment of the provision of banking services to small and medium-sized firms. The report aims to promote more “arm’s length” or transactional approaches to managing SME bank customers, effectively reducing banks’ abilities to build relationships with its SME customers. It is proposed that relationship marketing for banking services to SMEs, a subject of considerable academic attention in recent years, has been severely curtailed in its present form by this recent regulatory judgement. The discussion also
provides broader implications for policy analysis and marketing.