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Thought Leaders

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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Raphaël De Coninck is a “superb” economist who is recommended for his “really excellent work” when it comes to delivering expert testimony on competition-related merger and damages cases.

Questions & Answers

Dr Raphaël De Coninck is a vice president and head of the Brussels office at Charles River Associates. Raphaël has provided expert economic evidence and testimony in numerous high-profile cases covering antitrust and competition matters (including over 60 mergers and 20 phase II merger investigations), intellectual property and damages quantification. He advises clients in litigation and regulatory proceedings in front of the European Commission, national courts and authorities, and in arbitration.
Describe your career to date

After completing my PhD in economics at the University of Chicago and a postdoctoral research fellowship at New York University, I started my economic consulting career in Europe and then joined the chief economist team at DG Competition. I left the Commission in 2011 to join Charles River Associates’ (CRA) Brussels office, which I am heading. Along the way, I have been fortunate to work on some of the most challenging and highest-profile competition cases, both as a Commission official and in private practice.

What do clients look for in an effective competition economist?

Clarity of advice (no technical jargon); deep understanding not only of economics, but also of how regulators assess economic evidence in practice; impeccable credentials and credibility with competition authorities and courts; and the ability to leave no stone unturned.

What is the most challenging aspect of handling phase II merger investigations?

Phase II merger investigations by the European Commission are very resource-intensive, and it is essential to work in large and diverse teams to be able to fully anticipate and lead the process. Over the course of a phase II investigation, the team works countless hours and makes many personal sacrifices to ensure the best outcomes for the client under strong time pressure. Fortunately, our vast experience in working on such cases really helps in setting up the right teams and managing the process smoothly.

What is the key to effectively advising major financial institutions and corporates on regulatory and litigious matters before authorities?

In my experience, the key to effective advice is to first actively listen to the client, who has a deep understanding of the relevant market, and then build on this understanding and client relationship to gather useful evidence and provide fact-based economic advice, and carry out impactful analysis to be submitted to the authorities as needed.

What do you enjoy about your current role as vice president of the firm?

First, working with great colleagues, both economists and lawyers. Second, the variety of cases and industries I work on. While some sectors more often come to the attention of antitrust authorities, no two cases are identical. With each new case, as competition economists, we have the privilege to gain first-hand exposure from the business on how its industry works, and to test and apply economic insights in light of the reality of the business world.

How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?

CRA’s Brussels office has been growing significantly and now has approximately 25 economists, with more hires coming. Being able to work with such a great team in Brussels, and CRA’s leading economists worldwide, I am confident that I will continue advising clients in the most interesting and challenging European competition cases of the coming years.

Sources have noted that the European Commission now focuses more on internal documents in investigations. Do you think this is the case?

Yes, it is also my experience that the European Commission is now relying heavily on internal documents in its investigations. While internal documents can add useful information to assess theories of harm, they can also be cherry-picked, taken out of context or misinterpreted. This makes the development of solid economic evidence even more important, to reach sound and facts-based conclusions. As a consequence, the use of internal documents by the European Commission has not replaced economic analysis; on the contrary, this calls for more economic analysis to be carried out and provide economic context to ensure a proper interpretation of these internal documents. 

You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

I have been very fortunate to work with fantastic colleagues along the years, at both the Commission and CRA. Now I am particularly thrilled to see my younger team members grow into accomplished and respected economic consultants of their own, which I am hoping to help them achieve further.

Global Leader

Competition - Economists 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Raphaël De Coninck is widely praised for his “notable experience as a merger control economist”, providing top-tier evidence and testimony in phase II investigations, cartels and abuse of dominance cases. 

Biography

Dr Raphaël De Coninck is a vice president at Charles River Associates (CRA), where he heads the Brussels office. Raphaël has provided expert economic evidence and testimony in numerous high-profile cases covering antitrust and competition matters (including over 60 mergers and 20 Phase II merger investigations, abuses of dominance and cartels), intellectual property and damages quantification. He has advised clients in litigation and regulatory proceedings in front of the European Commission and of national courts and authorities, primarily in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain and Switzerland.

Raphaël’s experience spans a wide range of products and industries, including pharmaceuticals, IT, consumer products and retail, transport, telecoms, energy, basic industries, financial services, media and entertainment. While at CRA, he has worked for clients such as Universal, Google, Dolby, Pfizer, Novartis, Mylan, Abbott, GE, Virgin Atlantic, Danone, Henkel, L’Oréal, ABF, Ahold Delhaize, FIFA, Cable Europe, Canal+, SFR, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and the European Commission.

Prior to joining CRA, Raphaël was a member of DG Competition’s chief economist team at the European Commission. He has published numerous articles and contributed to major competition policy initiatives, including the European Commission’s Practical Guide on the Quantification of Antitrust Damages.

Raphaël received a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago, and degrees in law and in economics from the University of Liège, Belgium. He previously lectured on law and economics at the University of Chicago, held an academic position at New York University School of Law, and is currently teaching competition policy at the Université libre de Bruxelles and at the Brussels School of Competition.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Raphaël De Coninck’s first-class expertise on competition policy matters spans a spectrum of industries including retail, telecoms and financial services.

Biography

Dr Raphaël De Coninck is a vice president at Charles River Associates (CRA), where he heads the Brussels office. Raphaël has provided expert economic evidence and testimony in numerous high-profile cases covering antitrust and competition matters (including over 60 mergers and 20 Phase II merger investigations, abuses of dominance and cartels), intellectual property and damages quantification. He has advised clients in litigation and regulatory proceedings in front of the European Commission and of national courts and authorities, primarily in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain and Switzerland.

Raphaël’s experience spans a wide range of products and industries, including pharmaceuticals, IT, consumer products and retail, transport, telecoms, energy, basic industries, financial services, media and entertainment. While at CRA, he has worked for clients such as Universal, Google, Dolby, Pfizer, Novartis, Mylan, Abbott, GE, Virgin Atlantic, Danone, Henkel, L’Oréal, ABF, Ahold Delhaize, FIFA, Cable Europe, Canal+, SFR, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and the European Commission.

Prior to joining CRA, Raphaël was a member of DG Competition’s chief economist team at the European Commission. He has published numerous articles and contributed to major competition policy initiatives, including the European Commission’s Practical Guide on the Quantification of Antitrust Damages.

Raphaël received a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago, and degrees in law and in economics from the University of Liège, Belgium. He previously lectured on law and economics at the University of Chicago, held an academic position at New York University School of Law, and is currently teaching competition policy at the Université libre de Bruxelles and at the Brussels School of Competition.

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