August 03, 2016

On August 3, 2016, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC was appointed co-lead counsel in a lawsuit charging a number of the world’s largest investment banks with conspiring to engineer and maintain a collusive and anti-competitive stranglehold over the market for interest rate swaps (IRS) in violation of federal antitrust laws – an action that harms investors in one of the world’s biggest financial markets.

Cohen Milstein and co-lead counsel Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP represent the Chicago Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund. The investors, led by the Chicago Fund, seek an injunction to put an end to this anti-competitive arrangement, and damages to compensate them for the injuries they have suffered. According to the complaint filed in November 2015 in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, interest rate swaps have been standardized and ripe for exchange trading for years. Exchange trading brings transparent and competitive pricing and faster execution to a market, thus bringing significant benefits to investors. For instance, when foreign exchange trading recently started to move to electronic trading platforms, the bid/offer spread for certain currency transactions declined by over 50 percent.

“We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling appointing Cohen Milstein and our co-counsel, Quinn Emanuel, as co-lead counsel,” said Cohen Milstein partner Carol Gilden. “This is an important case against the biggest investment banks in the world. In addition to pension funds like the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF), the banks’ conduct impacted municipalities, along with hedge funds, university endowment funds and other institutional investors. It is important that trading in interest swaps be transparent and done through exchanges in order to protect end-users like CTPF, and that investors be able to recover damages. Those are the goals of this lawsuit.”

Jay Rehak, President of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, added, “The conspiracy here shocked us – both with its scope, the prominence of the conspirators, and its impact on an important market. We realize that many investors would be hesitant to challenge the behavior of a group of the world’s biggest banks, but we decided that if we did not step up, maybe nobody would. A level playing field will serve everyone.”

The “Dealer Defendant” banks include Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, HSBC Bank, BNP Paribas, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS.

The Cohen Milstein team is led by J. Douglas Richards, Carol Gilden, Michael Eisenkraft and Sharon Robertson, of Cohen Milstein’s New York and Chicago offices.  The Quinn Emanuel team is led by Daniel L. Brockett, Steig Olson, Sascha Rand and Daniel Cunningham.  For more information about Public School Teacher’ Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago v. Bank of America Corporation, et al, please visit http://www.cohenmilstein.com/case-study/interest-rate-swaps-litigation.