Financial markets are the lifeblood of the real economy, giving businesses and consumers access to financial products. The better and more competitively they function, the better the economy will perform. In recent years, two interesting developments can be observed in the antitrust arena: on one hand, the increased scrutiny by antitrust authorities in the U.S., Europe and Asia; on the other hand, the increasing growth of different payment systems on a global scale. This two-panel workshop aimed at analyzing and discussing these critical issues with some key antitrust enforcers, lawyers, in-house counsels, and economists.
Concurrences and Morgan Lewis were the co-organizers of this three-hour event, supported by Charles River Associates and Cornerstone Research.
The conference opened with a keynote speech delivered by Maureen Ohlhausen (Acting Chairman, U.S. Federal Trade Commission) regarding the antitrust treatment of algorithms. Algorithms are now commonly used in the financial markets to facilitate automated trading, and are also increasingly used to automate price setting in the on-line sale of consumer goods.
As these tools have been deployed with greater frequency, some commentators are now raising antitrust concerns that are, in her view, alarmist. Chairman Ohlhausen explained that an algorithm is a tool that, like any other, can be used for proper or improper purposes.
Chairman Ohlhausen went on to address three of the most common concerns that algorithms could be deployed in ways that could create antitrust issues.