© 2016 Elsevier Ltd We review the related academic literature and the international evidence on the institutions of regulation and competition policy, to analyze the creation in 2013 of the new macro regulator in Spain, the CNMC. The institutional reform merged the competition policy authority with virtually all sector regulators with the exception of the financial regulator. The aim of the paper is to assess the extent to which the Spanish reform follows international best practices as well as how it fits within the analysis found in the academic literature. Although there is not a universally superior approach, neither in practice nor in theory, important shortcomings remain with the model that was finally adopted in Spain. Some institutional diversity would facilitate an optimal level of regulatory independence and governmental coordination for each sector, and ultimately achieving better results in terms of consumer welfare.