From vicars to City titans: The names behind £550m Lloyds legal battle

 
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The two massive banks merged during the financial crisis, but it could not avoid a government bailout (Source: Getty)

Today City A.M. reveals the varied and surprising names behind a massive £550m legal battle with Lloyds over its takeover of HBOS at the height of the financial crisis – and the cast includes major institutions, aristocrats, vicars and politicians.

The groups, which includes institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Nomura Asset Management and pension funds for BT, BP and Barclays Bank, are joined by thousands of individual investors who claim Lloyds misled them by not disclosing emergency funding to HBOS before the two banks merged in 2008.

See below for a list of the most notable British and international firms who have joined the action.

The decade-long feud has culminated in a massive legal action against Lloyds Banking Group and five former directors, with claimants represented by law firm Harcus Sinclair ranging from the massive pension funds of blue-chip companies like Rolls-Royce to a colourful array of individuals from Britain’s shareholder class – including Theresa May’s chief of staff.

Read more: Lawyer in Lloyds HBOS investor action asks judge to send "firm message"

Some of the world’s most important banks are named in a register of investors seen by City A.M., including Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. Barclays Bank is named twice, in its separate roles as pension fund and trust company.

Many of the firms are listed in their capacity as trustees for other parties, meaning they may not have made a direct decision to target Lloyds. British banks – and direct Lloyds rivals – HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland’s National Westminster (Natwest) and Clydesdale are all named as trustees, along with one Barclays company.

Pension funds spanning the City have also targeted a payout from Lloyds, representing the retirement pots of employees of FTSE 100 firms such as Shell, Associated British Foods, Taylor Wimpey, Relx Group and British Airways.

Read more: Former FSA chief denies trying to push Lloyds into HBOS merger

The legal action even reaches right into Downing Street, with Theresa May’s chief of staff named in the register: Gavin Barwell, the MP for Croydon Central until last year’s General Election, was one of the trustees of the Whitgift Foundation Fund, a London-based charity which has joined the action. At the time the action was formally started the government still held a significant stake in Lloyds, which was bailed out after the bank almost collapsed.

Meanwhile, the list of individual claimants gives a fascinating insight into the broad array of British shareholders, from retail shareholders the length and breadth of the country to former employees of Lloyds given stock options. Over 100 doctors, two QCs, six knights, eight ladies, a canon and 10 reverends, two colonels and a lieutenant commander all form part of the list of 6,296 investors who hail from as far afield as Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.

The case continues, with a judgement due within three months from Mr Justice Nugee – although City A.M. understands the massive complexity of the case may delay the judgement significantly.

The action against Lloyds heard weeks of evidence from shareholders, expert witnesses, and former directors including ex-chair Sir Victor Blank, chief executive Eric Daniels, and the City’s top former watchdog, Sir Hector Sants.

The case is one of a new breed of British legal action, the group litigation order (GLO), which allows a large number of individuals with similar claims to sign up to a case in a similar manner to US class actions. It has been funded by litigation funders Therium.

Read more: HBOS emergency funding disclosure not needed in Lloyds deal, court hears

Banks

Arbuthnot Latham (Nominees) Ltd

Ameritrust Corporation

Bank of America NA as trustee of the Bank of America Pension Plan

Bankers Trust Company

Barclays Bank Trust Company

Barclays Pension Funds Trustees Limited as trustee of the Barclays Bank UK Retirement Fund and Russell Investment Company

BNY Mellon Trust and Depositary (UK) Ltd and Smith and Williamson Fund Administration Ltd

Citigroup Global Markets Inc

Clydesdale Bank suing as executor for other parties

HSBC Bank PLC as trustee for the COIF Charities Global Equity Income Fund

National Westminster Bank and Smith and Williamson as trustees for other parties

Northern Trust Investments

Standard Bank Jersey

State Street Trust and Banking Co.

The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation as trustee for other parties

US Bank NA

Wells Fargo Bank, NA Trustee

WH Ireland Ltd

British pension funds

Associated British Foods Pension Trustees Ltd

BP Pension Trustees as the trustee of the BP Pension Fund

British Airways Pension Trustees Ltd

BT Pension Scheme Trustees Ltd as the trustee of the BT Pension Scheme

CAAPS Trustee Ltd as trustee of the Civil Aviation Authority Pension Scheme

Capita Trustees Ltd

Cumbria County Council

Hallmark Cards, Incorporated Master Trust

IBM Nederland

Jaguar Land Rover Pension Trustees

John Deere Pension Trust

Lincolnshire County Council

National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Ltd

Northern Trust Fiduciary Services as trustee of the IBM Diversified Global Equity Fund

Reed Elsevier Pension Trustee Ltd as trustee of the Reed Elsevier Pension Scheme

Rolls Royce Pension Fund Trustees as trustees of the Rolls-Royce Pension Fund

Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Council

Shell Pension Trust

Taylor Wimpey Pension Trustees

The Corporation of Lloyds

The London Borough of Havering

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

The Wellcome Trust

Westminster City Council

Xafinity Pension Trustees Ltd

Investment managers

Boston Financial Management

Cannaccord Nominees Ltd

DNB Asset Management

Fidelity Management Trust Company as trustee of the Verizon Master Savings Trust

GAM International Management Ltd

Goldman Sachs International Equity Dividend and Premium Fund

Investec Wealth and Investment Ltd

Liontrust Global Income Fund

Nomura Asset Management

Rathbones Nominees Ltd

Sanlam Universal Funds

Schwab Capital Trust

Silvercrest Asset Management

Smith and Williamson Nominees Ltd on behalf of...

North American pension funds

Caisse de depot et placement de Quebec

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

OMERS Admin Corp

Ontario Pension Board

Southern Baptists Foundation

State of Connecticut as trustee for Connecticut Retirement Plans

Teachers Retirement Scheme, Illinois

The Kaiser Permanente Group Trust

The Regents of the University of California

Utah State Retirement Systems

Verizon Investment Management Corp directing BNY Mellon, trustees of the Bell Atlantic Master Trust

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