UK Opt-Out Investors Recover Ten Times More Than Time Warner Class Action Participants
UK funds’ active involvement in the U.S. shareholders’ action boosted by NAPF policy paper released today
Lerach Coughlin, the premier US shareholders litigation firm, today announced that UK and EU shareholders have recovered nearly £30 million in pension fund assets by opting out of the AOL Time Warner class action securities fraud settlement and pursuing individual, private actions. The announcement lends support to a major policy statement released this morning by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), at its annual investment conference in Edinburgh, in which the Association advised pension fund trustees not to ignore the potential to recoup losses or encourage better governance through legal action in the US courts.
Nearly a dozen UK and EU funds, representing the retirement savings of tens of thousands of the British public, filed individual actions alleging fraudulent accounting practices at American Online but coordinated their prosecutions with about 70 other public and industry funds from the US and Australia, all of whom were represented by Lerach Coughlin. Leading successful UK participants included the London Pension Funds Authority, the West Midlands Pension Fund, the Falkirk Council Pension Fund and the Lothian Pension Fund, as well as some of the largest fund managers and industry and public pension funds in the EU, US and Australia.
“It has long been recognised that identifying losses and pursuing valid claims is 100 per cent consistent with pension fund Trustees’ fiduciary duties,” said William Lerach, chairman of Lerach Coughlin. “Our clients’ active engagement through individual private actions has seen these investors recover nearly ten times what they would have by just passively claiming in the class action.”
Since shareholders initiated their private or opt out actions with Lerach Coughlin they have persistently sought to expose the scale of the wrongdoing at America Online, and to hold the responsible individuals accountable and to support the numerous calls and efforts to compel corporate governance improvements within Time Warner. As a result of the media exposure and consistent calls for reform many changes and improvements have been implemented within Time Warner. Shares of Time Warner have increased nearly US$10 per share as a result of shareholders’ collective efforts, thus adding or restoring billions of dollars in shareholder value.
The international coalition of funds continues to hold millions of shares of Time Warner, and a stated objective from the outset of the private actions has been not only to recover lost investments but also to improve the oversight and governance of the Company so that the same mistakes would not be repeated. Lerach Coughlin partner Patrick Daniels stated, “This successful financial recovery and campaign to improve governance at Time Warner is the direct result of an international collaboration of UK, Dutch, Australian and US investors, all of whom recognise the tremendous value of companies in their portfolios adhering to the highest standards of corporate governance.”
These recoveries are believed to be among the largest yet of any UK- or EU-based investors participating in individual shareholder litigation in the US, and come at a time to provide concrete examples of the benefits to which the NAPF policy alludes. Much has been written in the UK about US shareholder litigation and the billions of dollars recovered for investors that UK funds are likely missing out on. One of the most fundamental ways for investors anywhere to benefit from US class actions is to passively monitor cases and file a “claim” upon a successful recovery. The process sounds simple – and in concept it is – but a surprising number of funds, both in the US and abroad, are not accurately or thoroughly completing the filing process. As a result, more of the recoveries are distributed to investors that complete the claims correctly. This failure by funds is highlighted by the NAPF policy statement, and the need for expert assistance is acknowledged.
With more than 35 years experience in prosecuting securities fraud actions and more than $45 billion in investor recoveries, the firm is uniquely positioned to assist institutional investors in recovering funds through the claims-filing process. Lerach Coughlin now offers institutional investors a complete range of portfolio monitoring services – from identifying and prosecuting securities claims to making sure funds maximise recoveries through sophisticated claims-filing strategies and claims-processing services.
“For all the attention and effort pension fund trustees put into recovering lost assets for retirees, the claims-filing process is one of the most important and least understood steps. Lerach Coughlin is the proven leader in investor protection and the law firm of choice for the largest pension funds and institutional investors in the world. We now offer our institutional clients a new claims-filing service to maximise their recoveries in securities fraud settlements,” said Daniels.
Hundreds of pension funds and investment advisors in Europe, Asia and the Americas utilise the Portfolio Monitoring Program® to ensure a comprehensive analysis of potential recoveries from securities class actions. Because the securities class actions claims process can be both confusing and cumbersome, Lerach Coughlin’s claims-filing service allows institutional investors to file accurate and timely claims, utilising the firm’s expertise and more than 35 years of working experience with claims administrators. The firm’s claims-filing service allows institutional investors to increase recovery amounts and minimize rejected claims through a combination of accuracy and advocacy that comes with the experience of handling the largest and most important class action cases.