A group of public Ohio and Texas pension funds will lead a securities class-action lawsuit on behalf of investors against Bank of America (BofA) and the acquisition of brokerage firm Merrill Lynch.
On June 30, Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted lead plaintiff status to the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System of Texas. They are joined by two European pension funds: Fjärde AP-Fonden and Stichting Pensionfonds Zorg en Welzijn.
Investors in the case allege Bank of America purposefully misled them about the fiscal health of Merrill Lynch before the purchase on Jan. 1, 2009. In its fourth quarter, Merrill reported a loss of $15.4 billion.
As reported July 2 by the New York Times, the BofA/Merrill Lynch merger has prompted Congressional hearings into why Bank of America failed to back out of the acquisition or disclose more information about Merrill’s financial status. In addition, lawmakers want to know the extent to which federal regulators may have pushed Bank of America to close the deal.