Today's news of a major $2.43 billion class-action settlement against the Bank of America, tied to losses related to the bank's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, will indeed filter down to individuals participating in pension plans across the country, with a special emphasis on the Buckeye State.
In Ohio, Columbus NPR station WOUB is reporting that both the State Teachers Retirement System and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System will receive approximately $20 million as part of the settlement.
As many as 70,000 individual Ohio residents may also be considered potential class action members in the case.
The settlement is one of the four largest settlement amounts ever funded by a single corporate defendant, accused of violations of federal securities laws.
"Investing involves risk. But investors, whether pension funds or individuals, expect companies to provide accurate information so they can judge that risk," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. "Misleading investors with wrong or incomplete information is unacceptable and costly."
The suit, filed back in 2009, alleges that Bank of America and Merrill Lynch and its officers and directors violated federal securities laws by making a series of false statements about the Merrill Lynch acquisition. Merrill had, in fact, suffered billions of dollars in losses before the shareholder vote and had also paid billions in bonuses before the acquisition, despite those losses.
B of A shareholders voted without knowing the facts and the bank's stock price plunged when the facts were revealed a month later.
The lead plaintiffs in the case included the two Ohio pension systems, plus the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and major national pension fund systems in Holland and Sweden.