Investor activism: Funds stand up to Shell
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Investor activism: Funds stand up to Shell

EU pension funds begin to flex muscles over scandals. Twenty-six Dutch pension funds are suing Royal Dutch Shell for overstating its oil reserves between 1999 and 2003.

The group of predominantly Dutch pension funds, led by ABP, the €168 billion Dutch civil service and educational pension fund, has filed a pending class-action lawsuit against the energy company with US law firm Grant & Eisenhofer.

“We’re arguing that these clients bought shares based on Shell’s stated oil reserves,” says Geoff Jarvis, partner at Grant & Eisenhofer. “When Shell acknowledged that they had overstated the reserves at a later date, the stock price took a hit and resulted in our clients losing hundreds of millions of dollars.”


Among the former and current Shell executives named as defendants in the lawsuit is Sir Philip Watts, former chairman of Shell, who left the company last year after reserves downgrades were conceded. Consultants KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers are also named as defendants. Shell has already paid more than $150 million in fines to UK and US regulators, and $90 million to employees who claimed their pension funds had been hit by the overstatements.

Grant & Eisenhofer is one of the US’s largest securities class action law firms to represent institutional investors. The firm has pending class action suits against other corporations, including Tyco and Marsh & McLennan, on behalf of institutional shareholders.

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