Robert Bartlett

Online Lenders Charge Minority Borrowers Higher Rates, Just Like Humans Do

Robert Bartlett quoted in Hartford Courant, November 20, 2018

“Even controlling for credit worthiness, we see discriminatory effects in the rates at which borrowers obtain mortgages,” Bartlett said.

Researchers said the racial disparities could result from algorithms that use machine learning and big data to charge higher interest rates to borrowers who may be less likely to shop around. For example, the algorithms may take into account a borrower’s neighborhood — noting who lives in banking deserts — or other characteristics such as their high school or college. The consumers least likely to comparison shop also happen to be black or Latino.

Study: Minority homebuyers pay higher interest rates

Robert Bartlett quoted in HousingWire, November 20, 2018

Robert Bartlett, co-author of the study and professor at Berkeley Law, suggested there could be legal implications for lenders using these algorithms.

Bartlett said fair lending laws prohibit price discrimination and that courts have ruled that pricing variations can only be justified by credit risk.

“The novelty of our empirical design is that we can rule out the possibility that these pricing differences are due to differences in credit risk among borrowers,” Bartlett said.

Encouraging companies to go public won’t be easy

Robert Bartlett and Steven Davidoff Solomon cited by Bloomberg BNA, Feb. 15, 2017

What can the SEC do on its own without congressional action? That is an “enormously complicated question,” said Robert Bartlett. … At a minimum, the SEC should “consider the effects on small business capital formation when it encourages funds to be more systematic in their liquidity risk management.”

Bartlett … and University of California, Berkeley, law professor Steven Davidoff Solomon co-authored a September 2016 paper that found that since 1998—when the Asian financial crisis and other events spurred a flight to liquidity—the largest mutual funds have invested in fewer smaller IPOs.

UC Berkeley: Stale prices not a threat to liquidity takers

Robert P. Bartlett III and Justin McCrary paper cited by Seeking Alpha, Sept. 8, 2016

Robert P. Bartlett III and Justin McCrary used data from the Securities Information Processors (SIPs) to look at reporting lags and the question whether fast traders can and do profitably exploit stale quotes. The proposition that they do pick off stale quotes is one of the theses of Michael Lewis’ 2014 book, Flash Boys.

Study backs Barron’s critique of Flash Boys

Robert Bartlett and Justin McCrary study cited by Barron’s, Sept. 3, 2016

The study, by Robert Bartlett and Justin McCrary, scoured 385 million stock trades and 6.2 billion price quotes for signs that high-tech scalawags routinely front-run the rest of us by exploiting faster access to stock quotes. Contrary to Lewis’ scare story, the pair found that slow or fast quotes made no difference in pricing 97% of the trades. And on the remaining trades, the pricing differences actually favored the slow trader.

Trump’s company kept two sets of financial numbers, testimony shows

Robert Bartlett quoted by BuzzFeed, August 12, 2016

From a legal perspective, a projection about the future is more opinion than fact, said Robert Bartlett. … “It smells a little fishy,” he said. “If the internal set of books was what they held out to themselves as the true and likely scenario, then that would seem to be circumstantial evidence that the rosy projections were not honestly held projections.”

Trying to force the S.E.C.’s hand on high-speed trading

Robert P. Bartlett III and Justin McCrary write for The New York Times, Dec. 18, 2015

Media attention to latency arbitrage might be novel, but the issue is hardly a new one; investors have voiced concerns about exchanges’ preferential distribution of market data since at least 1975. In light of the S.E.C.’s unwillingness to take any action, IEX and its backers simply took matters into their own hands.