Ashurst advises as pension schemes sue Henderson

Ashurst has scooped the lead role advising a group of 30 of the UK’s largest pension schemes in a multi-million pound court case against investment management company Henderson Group.

The Henderson Action Group, advised by Ashurst and consisting of pension schemes including those of the BBC, Bupa and Tesco, filed a claim against two of the company’s subsidiaries yesterday (6 December).

The case, which could see Henderson potentially pay out millions of pounds in damages, centres around the firm’s 2006 takeover of construction firm John Laing and an alleged breach of mandate.

The claimants, who all invested in Henderson’s PFI Secondary Fund, allege that the takeover should never have gone through as they had originally been told that they were backing a fund that would only invest in low-risk assets that were inflation-proofed.

In 2009, the fund had lost more than two-thirds of its value, largely due to the pension deficit in the John Laing scheme.

The claimants also allege that Henderson’s investment in John Laing did not, as a matter of construction, comply with the Private Placement Memorandum or with the Revised Partnership Agreement as proposed by Henderson.

In a statement Henderson Group chief executive Andrew Formica said: “The proceedings involve alleged breach of mandate and misrepresentation. All the claimants are sophisticated investors. We have considered these complaints carefully. We are confident we have no legal liability to investors in this fund. We will vigorously defend these proceedings.”