Pension funds join class action against five banks

A number of pension funds have joined a class action that has today, 29 July, filed against five banks that unlawfully manipulated the foreign exchange market between 2007 and 2013.

The claim was filed to the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) by Scott+Scott Europe LLP on behalf of the group, which includes pension funds, asset managers, hedge funds and corporates.

The claims are being made against Barclays plc, Citibank, Royal Bank of Scotland plc, JP Morgan and UBS. It is being led by former chairman of The Pensions Regulator, Michael O’Higgins.

This legal action follows the European Commission’s (EC) ruling on 16 May 2019 that the above banks violated EU competition law. The five banks have now been fined more than $8.5bn (£6.93bn) collectively by eleven regulators globally. The EC held that the banks had exchanged commercially sensitive information and trading plans, coordinating their trading strategies via two cartels.

The claim is being brought through the CAT as a collective action on an opt out basis so that all eligible affected entities will benefit from any damages awarded without incurring the prohibitive and duplicative costs of bringing individual claims and without the class having to pay legal fees and costs from any recovery.

O’Higgins is leading the action through his company set up to bring this claim, Michael O’Higgins FX Class Representative Limited. He is currently chairman of the Local Pensions Partnership and of the Channel Island Competition and Regulatory Authorities.

“The fines imposed on the banks by the European Commission 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,” O’Higgins said.

This class action is being funded by Therium Capital Management, a leading global litigation funder.

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