Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bachman v. A.G. Edwards class action settlement objection

The attorneys in the case of Bachman v. A.G. Edwards, Inc. negotiated what they call a $60 million settlement. Which sounds good, until you actually look at the settlement:
  • The attorneys are asking for $21 million of the $60 million, or 35%;
  • 35% is actually an underestimate, because $34 million of the $60 million consist of $8.22 coupons, issued in sets of three to be used once a year to pay for mutual fund fees--assuming that the class members remember to use an $8.22 coupon in 2012;
  • the attorneys' fees get paid immediately, while the class does not get paid until ninety days after all appeals are resolved;
  • and even if the court reduces the attorneys' fees, the reduction goes to a charity run by A.G. Edwards's successor, Wells Fargo, rather than to the class.
In reality, the class is getting more like $8 million, and the attorneys will be getting more than twice that. This settlement is similar to a settlement against Edward D. Jones of a couple of years ago negotiated by a similar group of attorneys; I asked a co-lead counsel who was involved in both cases for evidence of the redemption rate of the Edward D. Jones coupons. Needless to say, he refused to provide a response.

Today, we filed an objection on behalf of a class member who was justifiably appalled by the settlement. And I see many others are unhappy as well. The AG Edwards Settlement Fairness Hearing will be held on May 14, 2010 at 9:30 a.m., central time at the St. Louis City Circuit Court, Civil Courts Building, 10 North Tucker Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63101-2044.

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