GSE Bonds Antitrust Litigation was a class action in which 16 of the world’s largest banks and financial institutions allegedly conspired to fix the prices of debt securities issued by government sponsored entities (“GSEs”), such as the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. To fund operations critical to the financing of the US housing market, GSEs issue trillions of dollars in debt, underwritten by some of the largest financial institutions in the world.
Plaintiffs alleged that these underwriting financial institutions orchestrated a horizontal conspiracy to artificially inflate the price of GSE Bonds. Defendants allegedly used electronic communications (among other means) to set pricing floors when new bond issuances were brought to market in the “free-to-trade” phase. Dr. Caves developed an econometric bond pricing model to measure artificial inflation in GSE Bond prices attributable to the alleged conspiracy. Drawing on Dr. Caves’ peer-reviewed academic work, the econometric model applied a nonparametric representation of the price formation process to Defendants’ voluminous transactional data.
In late 2019—less than a year after the case was filed— 13 large banks and financial services companies initially agreed to pay $337 million to resolve claims by investors that they conspired to rig prices of bonds issued by mortgage companies. By January 2020, all 16 Defendants agreed to settle for a total of $386.5 million, resulting in a substantial recovery for investors nationwide.
In granting final approval of the settlement, Judge Rakoff of the Southern District of New York noted the “high quality” of plaintiffs’ counsel’s work throughout the “fast pace[d]” litigation, and noted that “expert work…was essential to the resolution of this complex case.” In recognition of this accomplishment, counsel for Plaintiffs received the American Antitrust Institute’s award for Outstanding Antitrust Litigation Achievement in Private Law Practice.
Emerging Antitrust Issues Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Companies and Financial Institutions Must Know and Do
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm (ET)
- Enforcement Priority Changes Due to COVID-19
- Emerging Antitrust Issues
- LIBOR Transition
- Risk Management Strategies
- Best Compliance Practices
Dr. Robert Kneuper
Expert Economist/Expert Consultant
Senior Managing Director
Ankura Consulting Group, LLC
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm (ET)
First 30 seats FREE – REGISTER HERE
Can’t attend? Register anyway and you will receive a recording of the webinar.
For more information, please visit The Knowledge Group website, call 1.800.578.4370 or email email@example.com.
Infotech Systems and Infotech Consulting Support the Recovery of $101.35 Million
GAINESVILLE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Infotech, a leader in infrastructure construction software solutions and expert statistical and econometric consulting services, announced today that its two businesses supported a record-breaking antitrust settlement in West Virginia which recovered taxpayer dollars totaling $101.35 million.
In the late 1970s, Infotech developed computerized techniques to assess fairness in competitive markets. These same techniques were used to support the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) to assess bidding activity among a small group of contractors when price fixing was suspected. Through Infotech’s DOT agency services and Infotech Consulting’s expert statistical analysis, the company was able to support the state of West Virginia in reaching this settlement, which was the largest single-state antitrust settlement in West Virginia history.
“Price fixing raises prices at the taxpayer’s expense; discovering and proving this activity is at our core,” Will McClave said, Infotech Systems President. “Infotech has been building and using software to detect collusion since our first major antitrust case in 1981, which resulted in a then-record $30 million in settlements for a bid-rigging case. Throughout our history, our goal has been to pursue truth in the data and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly.”
One way state agencies can support a fair bidding process is through electronic bidding. WVDOT adopted Infotech’s secure online bidding service, Bidx.com®, in 2009.
“Many of you may remember back in 2013 when I instituted the state’s new competitive bidding policy for how outside counsel are paid,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said. “Well, we now have saved over $30 million through that policy. Why? Because the state gets the benefit of competitive bidding. Over $20 million saved on this case alone. That’s an awesome thing. That means we have good government, we have competition and we’re actually saving taxpayer money.”
“Our settlement will go a long way to restore competition and recoup road funds to the benefit of every taxpayer who pays for and drives West Virginia’s roads,” Morrisey continued. “We can never afford to allow an unlawful monopoly to victimize West Virginia and maximize its profits on the backs of state taxpayers, especially when every dollar is needed to pave our roads and compete effectively with other states for business and tourism.”
To learn more about Infotech’s online bidding platforms, visit https://www.infotechinc.com/bidding. To learn more about Infotech Consulting’s expert statistical and econometric consulting services, visit infotechconsulting.com. To learn more about the settlement, visit the official West Virginia announcement.
Info Tech, Inc., DBA Infotech (Infotech) bridges innovation and integrity by developing cutting-edge digital solutions for the infrastructure construction industry and providing expert statistical and econometric consulting services across multiple industries. Infotech’s two core businesses, Infotech Systems and Infotech Consulting, use technology and data to bring transparency, integrity and efficiency to the people we serve. Informed by DOT relationships and decades of experience, Infotech Systems develops software solutions that bridge the gaps between owners, consultants, contractors, and other project stakeholders. Infotech is the developer of Appia®, Bid Express®, and Doc Express®, as well as the official contractor for AASHTOWare Project™. For more information on our SaaS offerings, visit infotechinc.com. For more information about our expert consulting services, visit infotechconsulting.com.
Recently, we both had the pleasure of attending AAI’s 14th Annual Private Antitrust Enforcement Conference. As young professionals who entered a field heavily focused on antitrust litigation earlier this year, our first AAI conference was a very informative experience. Despite this event transitioning online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it truly seemed like the show carried on without missing a beat, and the communal feel surrounding this conference was undeterred by this transition.
This conference had a clear emphasis on diversity in the workplace and the strides we can take to achieve a representative workforce. An example that was used was “The Intel Rule,” which refers to Intel’s commitment to only work with outside counsel having at least 21% of their U.S. equity partners as women and at least 10% of their equity partners as underrepresented minorities. Intel believes if they “want to shape the future of technology, [their] workforce must be representative of that future.” This concept is applicable to any industry, including our own, in that if we are going to solve complex problems, we need diverse perspectives. By having a more diverse workforce, we are also able to look at our cases in different lights to find more creative solutions and better represent the people who our cases affect.
In the session titled “Leading Voices in Private Enforcement: Insights on Bringing and Litigating Successful Antitrust Cases,” which was moderated by Judith Zahid with panelists Dena Sharp, Eric Cramer, Dan Gustafson, and Kellie Lerner, the discussion on what makes a good expert was also enlightening and especially relevant to us at Infotech. As an expert, it is essential to be able to explain complex topics in a way that is simple to understand. This concept has been reflected at every level of our team through all phases of our projects. Each person on our team has specialized skills, so to be able to make a complicated topic understandable for every person on the team ensures that a jury will likely also be able to follow our logic. Additionally, good experts always prioritize honesty. This is a core Infotech Consulting value, and it comes naturally for us. We represent both plaintiffs and defendants, allowing the data to tell its truth, and we choose to work on cases in which we honor that truth. For this reason, we select our cases just as much as they select us.
Within the same session, there was a segment discussing advice for up and coming associates. Although we are not associates at a law firm, much of this advice was still very relevant to us as recent hires. When starting out in a new field full of so many complex and fascinating topics, it is easy to get intimidated by how much you may not know. However, the antidote to this intimidation is the privilege of being able to surround ourselves with a supportive team that gives us confidence. During the discussion, the following idea was raised: “ When working with a new associate, start with the idea that this is the next star; if you have hired them, you must already believe they can be.” Another related concept was stated plain and simply: “It is okay to lose. It is okay to make mistakes.” These are sentiments that the Infotech Consulting team strongly echoes, and it has been clearly showcased in the way we have been treated in our first few months on the job. Although we can only hope to one day reach star status, being able to immerse ourselves in an uplifting environment makes it even easier to find engagement with and passion for our work.
Speaking of passion, this conference clearly had a lot of it. It is evident that the AAI community has a purpose far greater than itself: promoting the well-being of fair, competitive business practices. It is refreshing (to say the least) to be able to work in a field in which we can positively affect social outcomes through our efforts, and it makes waking up in the morning all the more motivating. The sense of camaraderie surrounding this conference in support of the greater good really affirmed to us a sense of belonging.
The communal feel of the AAI extends beyond the boundaries of work. Some of the most memorable moments of the conference came from honoring the life of Hollis Salzman. Although we did not have the pleasure of knowing Hollis, it is evident that she left a positive impact on so many people, including our colleagues at Infotech Consulting who speak so highly of her. If we left the 14th Annual Private Antitrust Enforcement Conference knowing one thing was certain, it was that this impact will surely carry on for many years to come.