Several class members submitted objections to the proposed settlement on June 11, 2007 arguing that the settlement doesn’t fit the “fair and reasonable” criteria stipulated by the judge in his preliminary order. The objectors contend that by allowing defendants to offer vouchers to present investors while providing cash to former investors, current holders stand to receive less from the settlement. Additionally, objectors argue that settlement payment over a three year period is unnecessary and that proposed attorneys’ fees and expenses are excessive. The judge overruled all these objections on October 25, 2007 citing that despite “provocative queries” raised by the objecting shareholders, the settlement as framed is still in the best interest of the class. A separate Final Judgment and Order of Dismissal was entered on the same day. The same objecting shareholders filed Notices of Appeal on November 21, 2007 through November 26, 2007.
According to a press release date April 13, 2007, pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 52.08 of the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure and orders of the courts above, that three groups of cases: (1) Enriquez v. Edward D. Jones & Co., et al., Civ. No. 042-00126 Cir. Ct., St. Louis, Missouri (the "Enriquez" action); (2) Bressler v. Edward D. Jones & Co., et al., Civ. No. BC309500, Superior Court of California (the "Bressler" action) and Potter v. Edward D. Jones & Co., Case No. BC310059 (the "Potter" action) (the Enriquez, Bressler and Potter actions are collectively referred to as the "State Class Actions"); and (3) Spahn v. Edward D. Jones & Co., et al., Civ. No. 4:04cv00086, United States District Court, Missouri District Court (the "Spahn Action" or "Federal Class Action") have been settled, and the settlement has been tentatively approved by the Courts . The settlement, which still must be given final approval by the Courts, provides Credit Vouchers with a face value of $72,500,000 for current Edward Jones customers and $55,000,000 in cash for former Edward Jones customers (the "Settlement"). … A hearing in the Spahn Action will be held before the Honorable Henry E. Autry in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse, 111 South Tenth Street, St. Louis, MO 63102-1116, at 10:30 a.m., on July 20, 2007 to determine whether the proposed Settlement should be approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate, and to consider the proposed Plan of Allocation for the Settlement proceeds and the application of Plaintiffs' Counsel for attorneys' fees and reimbursement of expenses.
In a press release dated November 2, 2006, Edward D. Jones & Co. current and former customers would receive an average of $22 in cash and credits, and plaintiffs' attorneys would split about $38 million in fees under a preliminary settlement agreement submitted by the plaintiffs in a class-action case. The preliminary agreement was filed Oct. 31 in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri.
In a press release dated August 31, 2006, Financial-services firm Edward Jones has signed a tentative agreement to settle nine class action suits in connection with the firm's mutual fund revenue sharing practices. The settlement, which specifies $55 million cash and $72.5 million non-cash components, must be approved by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri before taking effect. The class action settlement agreement includes purchasers and holders of any preferred fund family from Jan. 1, 1999, through Dec. 31, 2004.
The original complaint alleges defendants violated sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and all amendments thereto, by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period.
The complaint alleges that defendants failed to disclose that Edward Jones received valuable incentive payments (valued reportedly at $100 million per year) from the Preferred Funds, or their affiliates, in return for Edward Jones recommending those funds to its clients, and otherwise steering its clients to purchase interests in those funds. More specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants failed to disclose and/or indicate, during the Class Period, that: (1) Edward Jones brokers entered into 'revenue sharing' agreements with seven Mutual Fund companies; (2) Edward Jones exclusively trained its brokerage staff to sell the seven Mutual Funds that entered into 'revenue sharing' agreements with Edward Jones; (3) Edward Jones discouraged its brokers from contacting and selling other mutual funds where no 'revenue sharing' agreement had been made with Edward Jones; and (4) Edward Jones brokers and representatives received extra compensation when they sold any of the seven Mutual Funds to Class Members.
The complaint further alleges that the full extent of defendants' fraudulent scheme was finally revealed on January 9, 2004, when The Wall Street Journal published an article that disclosed Edward Jones' scheme. More specifically, the article stated that when training its brokers in fund sales, Edward Jones gave them information almost exclusively about the seven 'preferred' Mutual Funds. Bonuses for brokers depend in part on selling the preferred Mutual Funds, and Edward Jones generally discouraged contact between brokers and sales representatives from rival funds. But while revenue sharing and related incentives were familiar to industry insiders, Edward Jones did not tell customers about any of these arrangements.
The 'preferred' mutual funds named in the complaint are:
Lord Abbett Funds, American Funds, Federated Funds, Goldman Sachs Funds, Hartford Mutual Funds, Putnam Funds; and Van Kampen Funds.