Sunday, July 09, 2006

International Institutional Investor "Arms Race"

One of the newer trends in the securities class action arena is a rise in the profile of foreign plaintiffs in US litigation.

Adding to this trend is the increasing emphasis that plaintiff side firms have placed on solidifying their relationships with foreign institutional investors and outside counsel for those investors.

Earlier this year, Labaton Sucharow & Rudoff LLP issued a press release announcing a joint alliance with the TILP Group, a German based firm with offices in Europe and the Middle East that represents private and institutional investors in Germany, Austria, Ireland and Luxembourg. A related announcement by TILP is available here.

The European invasion is being led by Labaton partner Eric J. Belfi, a recent addition to the firm, according to this release.

Other firms certainly represent international clients in securities class actions in the United States, but none have so publicly indicated that they are working together with foreign attorneys to prosecute securities class actions.

For example, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP represents the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board in The Williams Cos. securities litigation and the Nortel Corp. securities litigation.

Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP provides a list on their website of foreign institutional investors they represent, including The London Pensions Fund Authority, and UniSuper - a fund dedicated "exclusively to all who work in Australia's higher education and research sector."

Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP makes their website available in 17 languages (well 15 and two Chinese versions, but I'm not counting) and dedicates a specific part of their website and firm brochure to foreign institutional investors.

Not to be outdone, Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. also has an international practice area portion of their website and boasts that they have "affiliated offices in the United Kingdom, Italy, South Africa, Panama, Australia and China.
" Sadly though, the "International Securities Case" page is "Coming Soon."

Cohen Milstein is also among the growing group of American class action firms that sponsor, speak at, and attend international pension fund summits such as the European Pension Investment Forum and the UK & Irish Pension Summit.

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