Institutional Activism Through Litigation: An Empirical Analysis of Public Pension Fund Participation in Securities Class Actions
Michael A. Perino
St. John's University School of Law
August 3, 2011
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Forthcoming
St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-0055
The PSLRA’s lead plaintiff provision enlisted institutional investors to monitor class counsel in order to curb the agency costs endemic in securities class actions. This paper uses a sample of 731 settlements to examine the efficacy of this provision. It finds that, even when controlling for institutional self-selection of potentially easier or higher quality cases, cases with public pension lead plaintiffs have larger recoveries and lower fee requests and fee awards than cases with other lead plaintiff types. The paper also finds evidence consistent with the existence of a significant positive externality associated with public pension participation. Over time, fee requests and fee awards have on average declined significantly even in cases without such lead plaintiffs. These findings suggest that public pensions act as more effective monitors of class counsel than traditional plaintiffs and that the lead plaintiff provision has substantially reduced the transactions costs associated with securities class actions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: Class actions, PSLRA, lead plaintiff, institutional investors
JEL Classification: K22, K41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 19, 2006 ; Last revised: September 8, 2011
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