Economic Disputes Consulting

Duff & Phelps economists support clients through a wide range of economic disputes and advisory projects, from commercial & securities litigation, anti-trust and competition matters, economic regulation, data analytics to public policy matters.

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How We Can Help

 

 
Commercial Litigation

We regularly assist clients in commercial litigation matters on both liability and quantum issues. Our economists build market models, analyze complex market data, and provide expert advice and testimony. We often use models designed to replicate a market, along with complex data analytics, to develop a credible range of economic counterfactuals. In addition to assessments of quantum, the analyses may provide guidance on the relative significance of heads of claims and resulting considerations of liability. Economic analyses can be critical for responding to complex commercial litigation questions, where the effects may be felt in or across an economic market. For example, in a case involving the breach of a distribution agreement, economics can help address questions such as:

  • Did the breach cause a material impact on the demand, supply or price of the good / service in question?
  • Did competitors respond to the new market conditions and, if so, how did these responses affect outcomes?
  • In what ways did customers respond to price or service quality changes?

 

Securities Litigation

When securities litigation matters arise, and a firm is listed on an exchange, economic event studies may be extremely valuable in circumscribing the economic effects of a trigger event or set of events on the share price of the listed firm (for example, an accounting misstatement or announcements in respect of fraud involving company directors). Our economists can assist by undertaking detailed event studies, identifying relevant benchmarks, recreating share prices but-for the events, and undertaking detailed portfolio and claimant modelling to assess the extent of losses incurred by investors arising from the event. In this context, our professionals are also equipped to assist clients in respect of non-equity matters (such as in relation to debt and derivative markets) and in relation to execution issues.

Competition Damages

Breaches of competition law involve not only severe sanctions on firms and their directors, but can also give rise to third-party damages claims, where customers may have been exploited with higher than normal prices, or poorer service quality, arising out of a cartel. Alternatively, competitors may have been foreclosed from a market (or sub-market), given anti-competitive conduct or abuse by a dominant firm. Our economic experts regularly advise clients in respect of competition damages claims, including in relation to the quantification of overcharges or price inflation and the passing-on of any effects to parties along the supply chain. We can also model impacts and competitive effects of practices that may have been found to have been an abuse of a dominant position. In addition, our economists provide expert testimony in relation to international competition regimes and can also help throughout the investigation by an authority and during any appeal process.

Competition Economics

In some jurisdictions, with fines for breaches involving up to 10% of worldwide turnover along with criminal sanctions, we understand that companies need to take competition disputes and inquiries seriously. Our competition economists support clients operating around the globe, in a variety of jurisdictions and before anti-trust and competition authorities. We can assist with all aspects of a competition dispute or inquiry:

  • undertaking market delineation exercises to circumscribe the market under consideration,
  • modelling demand and markets, and undertaking market power assessments (e.g. using a SSNIP test),
  • assessing anti-competitive agreements or abusive conduct (e.g. margin squeeze, predation, unlawful discounts or undue price discrimination),
  • supporting clients through merger clearances, due diligence, and undertaking merger simulation modelling,
  • supporting clients through market investigations, including assessing efficiency issues,
  • assessing the provision and lawfulness of state-aid, and
  • providing compliance support.

 

Behavioral Regulation

We are leaders in the field of behavioral economics and are well placed to help assess consumer behavior and the types of information that consumers might rely on in making economic decisions. Our economists have a detailed understanding of the emerging body of behavioral economic literature and can gather and analyze consumer and business data as well as develop detailed models of consumer behavior and customer decision-making.

Behavioral economics is used heavily by financial conduct regulators seeking to protect users of financial services from exploitation or exclusion. Financial market inquiries, for example by the likes of the FCA, rely often on detailed behavioral models, and we support clients through the course of such conduct inquiries.

We are also able to assist in relation to designing and executing surveys to gather consumer level information. The team can support clients through the survey design process (to ensure it elicits unbiased results), survey implementation, and subsequent data analyses.

Economic Regulation

Critical network and infrastructure sectors such as electricity, water, transport and communications services may be economically regulated where they are regarded as ‘natural’ monopolies that need to fulfil wider public objectives. Arguments to this effect are also being raised in newer markets such as in the digital space.

Our regulatory economists have experience in economic regulation and incentive design in a multitude of sectors. We have a detailed understanding of best practice and the regulatory frameworks in place for the regulation of network sectors in various jurisdictions, and can advise on how to navigate engagement with regulators or prospective regulators.

Our experts advise clients in relation to:

  • economic incentive and tariff setting,
  • the impact of regulatory proposals, preparing expert regulatory testimony,
  • assessing interoperability or cost allocation issues,
  • assessing operational or structural separation issues, and
  • the development of financial models of the nature employed by regulators such as operating costs, capital expenditure, efficiency assumptions, volume projections, cost of capital and financeability issues.

 

Data Analytics and Modeling

Our economics team assists clients in analyzing all types of ‘big’ data sets (structured and unstructured), undertaking complex data analytics including through the use of statistical and econometric modelling. We help clients visualize data, distill trends, advise on pricing, demand or willingness-to-pay (price elasticity) issues, and develop predictive models and forecasting outcomes.

We can also assist with the selection of appropriate datasets and repositories and the development of suitable analytics techniques, employing a suite of dedicated software tools as needed. Our team also assesses internal data such as that from customer management systems, as well external datasets such as those drawn from public or market data sources.

We also undertake detailed economic research to support clients’ specific needs, and can conduct macro-economic country, regional, or local analyses as required. Our experts also carry out one-off assessments or building tools that may be updated and used by the client on an on-going basis.

Public Policy Advice

We advise on the economic, social welfare, and environmental impact of policy changes or proposals and are leaders in undertaking economic impact assessments as well as detailed cost benefit analyses, supporting clients throughout their engagement with policy makers around the world.

Economic impact assessments may include an assessment of a range of options or scenarios, and support engagement with public policy markets or market regulators. We always ensure that our assessments are fit-for-purpose for the matter and appropriate to the relevant jurisdiction.

Our economists may also advise on the economics of a wide range of public policy topics such as:

  • labor policy and wage setting (e.g. minimum living wages),
  • environmental policy (e.g. carbon credit pricing),
  • public welfare and health assessments (e.g. pharmacy access and drug pricing), and
  • data privacy and security policy (e.g. GDPR rules).

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