US/Europe - The Public Employees Retirement System of Mississippi has been appointed as lead plaintiff in the class action against software provider Satyam Computer Services.
It also alleged the defendants disseminated false or misleading statements, which deceived investors in Satyam' American Depositary Shares.
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann senior partner Jerry Silk, whose firm represents PERS in this action and others, said: "When PERS suffers losses that they believe are the result of wrongdoing it gives that a very serious analysis and makes a determination of whether it is in their interest to pursue litigation. This is something it has done in the past and it has taken a lead on."
Silk said the UK Mineworkers Pension Scheme and two other Scandinavian schemes are also part of the class action.
The presence of non US pension funds as members of the class action is a growing trend, despite there are several cases in which European schemes were denied to participate in class actions suits.
Silk said: "Each case is different but the courts are working through these issues and trying to create a clear framework so that non US investors understand in what scenario they have the right to seek redress in the US.
"The law is somewhat unclear when you are involving claims of foreign investors, involving a foreign corporation and a foreign exchange. In these cases, courts have taken different approaches to whether jurisdiction lies in the US."
He added his law firm had seen a trend where foreign investors have taken an active role in securities class litigations in the US and they have been appointed by courts repeatedly as lead plaintiffs.
Meanwhile, last week the US investors leading a class action lawsuit against the Royal Bank of Scotland announced they would ask the courts to allow UK and other European investors to participate in the suit.
The ruling, which nominated Mississippi PERS has one of the lead plaintiffs, knocked two UK pension funds and one Dutch fund - Merseyside Pension Fund, North Yorkshire County Council pension fund and MN Services- out of the running to be co-lead plaintiffs (Globalpensions.com: May 8).
Wolf Popper and Labaton Sucharow are the law firms representing Mississippi PERS in the suit against RBS.
Labaton Sucharow senior partner Thomas Dubbs, who participated yesterday to the Parliamentary Rountable - US Class Action: Making it work for UK Pension Funds - told Global Pensions there was an "increasing awareness" of UK and European schemes on US class actions.
He said: "Non US schemes are also increasingly aware of how they might positively impact scheme members by obtaining compensation as well as obtaining corporate governance reforms involving executive compensations and other issues."
He added: "Today's roundtable was another step in an ongoing dialogue concerning non US pension schemes can take advantage of the securities class action process in the US."
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a website dedicated to signposting people to where they can receive guidance typically associated with a so-called 'mid-life MOT'.
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