Guess what: it's the settlements!
Exchanges and other trading platforms are often vertically integrated to carry out trading, clearing and settlement as one operation. We show that such vertical silos can prevent efficiency gains from horizontal consolidation of trading and settlement platforms to be realized. Independent of the gains from such consolidation, when costs of settlement are private information, there is no mechanism that achieves the merger of the vertical silos in a way that trading and settlement are produced efficiently after the merger. Furthermore, we show that such an ex-post efficient merger can always be implemented by delegating the operation of settlement platforms to agents. JEL Classification: C73, G20, G34, L22
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