Torre Asset Funding v RBS
June, 5-10 days, Chancery Division
For the claimant Torre Asset Funding Ltd:
XXIV Old Buildings’ Francis Tregear QC (juniors TBC), instructed by Field Fisher Waterhouse partner Duncan Black
For the defendant RBS:
3 Verulam Buildings’ Adrian Beltrami QC leading South Square’s Jeremy Goldring, instructed by Norton Rose partner associate George Walton
Hedge fund litigation has been an important feature of the High Court listings since the financial downturn saw investments lose significant value, but most cases settle.
This case is set down for June and will see hedge fund SPV Torre take on RBS.
The SPV invested in Dunedin’s securitised industrious portfolio, which collapsed rapidly and spectacularly in 2008. The investment was a junior subordinated layer of a syndicated loan promoted by the bank. RBS, which had a long standing relationship with Dunedin, was also a lender, held the top layer – about £500m – and also acted as an agent for the lenders.
Torre alleges that RBS failed to provide the information flow contemplated by the contract documents. It claims the bank should have informed the lenders that the fund was running out of cash and needed restructuring, and misrepresented the true position.
An added feature of this case is that RBS’ top layer was protected by a credit default swap backed by notes issued on the Irish Stock Exchange, in respect of which RBS was the servicer.
RBS had multiple roles on both sides of the transaction and the case will investigate those conflicts as well as the scope of exclusion clauses included in the facility agreements. There will therefore be considerable interest in the outcome for those disputes awaiting resolution.
It is also important in relation to the conduct of banks. There is a tendency to seek to hold them to account for encouraging high-volume business without considering properly the interests of clients or the underlying quality of the schemes they have promoted.