LiUNA pension fund suing banks over alleged rigging of currency markets

The Laborers’ International Union of North America pension plan is suing a number of financial institutions for allegedly conspiring to fix prices within the foreign exchange market.

The class action lawsuit alleges the defendants participated in manipulating the price of currency purchased in the foreign exchange market from at least as early as 2003 until 2013, according to a news release from Koskie Minsky LLP, one of the firms representing the LiUNA pension plan.

LiUNA is seeking $1 billion along with further potential punitive damages.

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“I think any large institutional investor would be motivated to come forward and make a claim for two reasons,” says Rob Gain, an associate at Koskie Minsky LLP. “One, it’s in their interest that the capital markets are fair and efficient and that conduct such as this is not permitted to proceed. And second, their investments have been impacted and this is a way to get compensation for that for the benefit of their members,” 

The defendants number in the dozens and span globally, including several parent banks and their various country-specific subsidiaries. Since the foreign exchange pricing scandal broke in 2014, regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, have extracted billions of dollars from some of the defendants.

Canada stands out, notes Gain, given the country’s regulatory bodies haven’t taken punitive measures while other countries have. ”There have been regulatory investigations and criminal guilty pleas in the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom — and Canada is an outlier,” he says.

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