Wednesday 11 December 2019 5:52 pm

Second law firm files multi-million foreign exchange class action against raft of banks

A second law firm today launched a multi-million pound class action claim against a raft of banks which admitted rigging the foreign exchange markets.

US litigation firm Hausfeld filed the claim in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) today against Barclays, Citibank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, JP Morgan, UBS and MUFG Bank over their participation in unlawful foreign exchange spot trading cartels between 2007 and 2013.

The claim follows collective European Commission fines of over €1bn (£840m) for the banks which the Commission found participated in two spot trading cartels.

Read more: Law firm tries to muscle in on £1bn forex cartel claim

The Hausfeld case follows an earlier action by US law firm Scott & Scott and sets up a clash between the two competing claims to see which one will take precedence.

Both claims have been brought on an opt-out basis, meaning that all those affected by the banks’ actions will be included in the class automatically.

At an earlier hearing for the Scott & Scott claim Justice Marcus Smith said the existence of two claims was likely to give rise to a so-called carriage dispute to see which would take precedence.

Hausfeld’s claim is being bankrolled by litigation funder Bench Walk Advisors and its class representative is Phil Evans, previously an inquiry chair with the Competition and Markets Authority.

Evans said: “Through this action, we want to hold the banks accountable for their actions and secure compensation for affected customers.”

Read more: Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland among five banks hit with €1bn fine for forex rigging

Scott & Scott’s action is being backed by litigation funder Therium with former head of the pensions regulator Michael O’Higgins as the class representative.

Scott & Scott and Hausfeld obtained over $2.3bn (£1.75bn) in settlements after a class action they co-led against 15 banks in the US for forex rigging with final approval granted in August 2018.

A spokesperson for Scott & Scott said: “Scott & Scott UK LLP filed the Michael O’Higgins claim in July and it is already being progressed through the courts. Other law firms have been wanting to insert themselves into this litigation for years, given the settlement amounts that we secured in the US,  but they will now have a lot of catching up to do.”

Barclays, RBS, UBS, Citibank and MUFG Bank declined to comment. JP Morgan was contacted for comment.