Pensions  

UK pension funds take banks to court

UK pension funds take banks to court

UK pension funds and companies could be compensated to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds by five banks if a collective action filed today (July 29) is successful.

Barclays, Citibank, Royal Bank of Scotland, JPMorgan and UBS stand accused of unlawfully manipulating the foreign exchange market between 2007 and 2013.

Michael O’Higgins, who has instructed Scott+Scott Europe to file the claim with Competition Appeal Tribunal, is looking for compensation for the affected entities, including pension funds, asset managers, hedge funds and corporates.

The legal action follows the European Commission’s ruling on May 16, which fined the five banks for exchanging commercially sensitive information and trading plans, effectively coordinating their trading strategies via two cartels.

The five banks have now been fined more than $8.5bn (£6.9bn) collectively by eleven regulators globally, the litigation firm stated.

Mr O’Higgins, the claimant, is currently chairman of the Local Pensions Partnership and of the Channel Island Competition and Regulatory Authorities. Previously, he was chairman of The Pensions Regulator.

He said: “The fines imposed on the banks by the EC were an important first step, but they will not compensate those who were damaged or suffered losses.

“Just as compensation has been won in the US, our legal action in the UK will seek to return hundreds of millions of pounds to pension funds and other corporates who were targeted by the cartel.”

In the US, the solicitor’s affiliate - Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law – was involved in a class action against fifteen banks for manipulating the FX market, obtaining over $2.3bn (£1.88bn) in settlements.

David R. Scott, managing partner of Scott+Scott, noted that the FX class action in the US led to widespread relief.

He said: “Our experience with this litigation gives us a tremendous advantage in pursuing this case on behalf of victims in the UK and abroad so that they also receive fair and equitable compensation.

“Michael O’Higgins’ experience in the pensions industry, which the banks specifically targeted, make him ideally placed to run this claim on behalf of this class.”

UBS, Citibank, JPMorgan and RBS declined to comment.

Barclays has been approached to comment.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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