To the Editor:
Our whole team, and I am sure most of the industry, have been following with great interest your extensive coverage of the Department of Justice's antitrust case against MasterCard and Visa. Certainly, this is a landmark event, and we appreciate your commitment to covering the proceedings.
Your issue on Monday, July 17, contained some information ["Government Rests Case in Card Trial", page 32] which I want to clarify, however.
First, the article mentioned that an Auriemma Consulting Group employee was deposed in the case. In fact, Fred Goldstein is the principal of his own market research agency. Mr. Goldstein's firm was a vendor for Auriemma.
Second, the article refers to market research, which was conducted by Auriemma. This research was conducted on a syndicated basis for over one dozen industry players. The research came to light during the Justice Department's investigation (apparently along with over 10 million other pieces of paper). The government subpoenaed our firm simply to validate the existence of the research and disclose the methodology used to conduct it.
The article indicates that Mr. Goldstein claimed that the research was not reliable. In fact, for a variety of reasons (e.g., subsample populations; rating scales, etc.), Mr. Goldstein indicated that the findings should not be extrapolated as suggested by the attorneys. This does not suggest that Auriemma's conclusions in the research were invalid. We certainly would not produce, let alone sell, research which we believed to be unreliable.
Hopefully, this clarifies the issue for your readers. We look forward to your continued coverage of the trial as Visa and MasterCard present their cases. Michael Auriemma
Auriemma Consulting Group
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"Viewpoints" is a regular feature in American Banker, appearing every Friday. It serves as a forum for discussion and debate on a wide range of issues in the financial services industry, including management approaches and strategies, legislative and regulatory matters, and public policy in general.
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