UK/US - UK pension funds will recoup £1.4bn ($2.2bn)in US class action lawsuits following losses suffered at the peak of the financial crisis, a report reveals.
Research conducted by GOAL Group found North European pension funds lost £51bn on their US investments in 2008 - some £21bn of which was attributable to UK schemes.
However, the global class action services provider warned schemes risk missing out on £368m of recoverable funds by failing to participate in class actions.
"This is a wake-up call to pension funds that are currently missing out on their legal right to claim damages through the US courts," it said.
West Midlands Pension Fund senior investment manager - equities & corporate governance Tony Doyle said the local authority fund had recovered $900,000 (£567,000) in class actions to date.
He added: "The fund has always supported good governance, challenging companies that do not meet best practice. We perceive poor governance as a risk to a fund's long-term financial interests.
"The fund therefore submits class actions globally where it believes that it has suffered a financial loss through fraudulent or irresponsible corporate behaviour."
GOAL said a number of schemes - primarily members of the LGPS - had pursued cases against large firms.
In March 2009, the Merseyside and North Yorkshire pension funds filed a motion to become lead plaintiffs in a US securities class action against Royal Bank of Scotland.
Similarly, the Avon Pension Fund was granted lead plaintiff status in a case against UK-listed GlaxoSmithKline.
Other examples included the Lothian Pension Fund and the Northern Ireland Local Government Officer Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC), which were both granted co-lead plaintiff status in August 2008 against Lehman Bros over their mortgage-backed securities.
Standard Life has increased exposure to risk assets in three out of five funds in its Active Plus and Passive Plus workplace pension ranges.
Some 48% of employers are unaware of the services or help they offer to members of their defined contribution (DC) schemes, according to Aon.
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