The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform released a study and related article this week on securities class action litigation. The lead author on both papers is Anjan V. Thakor, a professor at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in Saint Louis.
(1) “The Economic Reality of Securites Class Action Litigation,” a study done in conjunction with Navigant Consulting, finds that large institutional investors generally break even from their investments in stocks impacted by fraud allegations because the losses resulting from ill-timed purchases of inflated shares of one company are, over time, largely offset by financial gains generated from well-timed sales of inflated shares of a different company. As a result, institutional investors are often overcompensated as the result of securities fraud litigation. Less diversified investors (i.e., individual investors) are at greater risk of losing money as the result of securities fraud because they lack the natural “hedge” of institutional investors.
(2) “The Unintended Consequences of Securities Litigation” examines the financial impact of securities litigation on defendant companies and their stock holders. The article finds that the mere filing of a securities class action lawsuit on average results in a 3.5% drop in the defendant company’s equity value. Moreover, the economic losses to a defendant company caused by securities fraud litigation are likely to far exceed the gains to the plaintiffs (especially for smaller companies).
The study and article can be found here. Securities Litigation Watch has a number of posts discussing the study (which uses settlement data from SCAS).