Five pension plans are jointly seeking lead plaintiff status in several shareholder class-action lawsuits filed against Bank of America Corp. and company executives, according to a motion filed March 25 in U.S. District Court in New York.
The $49.7 billion Ohio State Teachers Retirement System, $60 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, $104.9 billion Texas Teacher Retirement System, €66.8 billion ($90.8 billion) Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn, represented by PGGM Vermogensbeheer B.V. (formerly PGGM Investments), and the 164.7 billion Swedish kroner ($20.4 billion) Fjarde AP4.
The motion came one day after the $167.3 billion California Public Employees Retirement System and $113.7 billion California State Teachers Retirement System, both in Sacramento, filed a joint motion also seeking lead plaintiff status. The cases allege that Bank of America officials withheld material information when it obtained shareholder approval for its merger with Merrill Lynch.
The group of five plans declined to comment on why they had filed a competing motion for appointment as lead plaintiff beyond statements in a news release, said Ted Hart, spokesman for the group.
Johan van der Ende, CIO of PGGM, said in the release that Zorg en Welzijn suffered significant losses due to the alleged misrepresentation and non-disclosure of the relevant facts by Bank of America. Apart from this, we believe we have a duty to represent global investors interests by striving for adequate loss recovery for all shareholders and essential corporate governance restructuring of this company.
Anyone can file to be named lead plaintiff. This is all part of the normal process in class actions. The court will choose from those interested in being lead plaintiff, said Sherry Reser, CalSTRS spokeswoman, in an e-mail response to questions.
CalPERS officials had no comment, spokesman Brad Pacheco wrote in an e-mail in response to questions.
No court date has been set to select lead plaintiffs, Ms. Reser and Mr. Pacheco both confirmed.