Five lead plaintiffs named in Bank of America class action

Nick Rees Jul. 3, 2009, 2:10am

Richard Cordray (D)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Five pension funds in a securities class action lawsuit on behalf of investors in Bank of America over untrue statements and failure to disclose information about its Merrill Lynch acquisition were granted lead plaintiff status.

Three American public pension funds -- the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas -- and two European pension funds -- Fjärde AP-Fonden and Stichting Pensionfonds Zorg en Welzijn -- were named lead plaintiffs.

The lawsuit alleges that Bank of America made materially untrue statements and failed to disclose material information in connection with its acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

"Our group of public pension funds has been given both a great opportunity and a great responsibility," Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray said."We now will protect the rights of Bank of America investors, including those of the five funds that will serve as Lead Plaintiff and the public employees and teachers who depend on them in this extraordinarily important case."

The pension funds, as lead plaintiff, are responsible for protecting the interests of all similarly situated Bank of America Investors, which are made up of individual and institutional investors. The group is, in effect, empowered to purse litigation that is in the best interests of all members of the investing public that were harmed by the alleged historic misconduct of the defendant.

"We feel privileged to represent global investors' interests by striving for adequate loss recovery for all shareholders and essential corporate governance reforms," Johan van der Ende, chief investment officer of PGGM Investments, said.

The five pension funds were noted by Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York as having the largest financial interest in the case. He also noted that the five are "the type of sophisticated institutional investors envisioned by Congress" to serve as lead plaintiffs.

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