According to a press release dated July 10, 2009, the complaint alleges that Manulife made false and misleading statements regarding its ability to manage and control risk. In fact, contrary to the Company's own risk management strategy, Manulife applied no material hedging strategy to manage risk particularly during an economic downturn. The complaint further alleges that notwithstanding its risk management strategy Manulife built up a massive stock portfolio, which it chose to leave unhedged. This resulted in a huge decline in the funds available to guaranty the Separate Fund Contract obligations, forcing the Company to raise billions in capital to make up for a widening shortfall in the amount it had promised to pay customers decades from now.
On June 19, 2009, after the market closed, Manulife announced that it received an enforcement notice from the Ontario Securities Commission ("OSC") relating to Manulife's disclosure of risks concerning its variable annuity guarantee and segregated funds business. The OSC notice stated that Manulife failed to meet its continuous disclosure obligations related to its exposure to market price risk in its variable annuity guarantee and Segregated Fund Contracts business. Segregated Fund Contracts are insurance contracts also known as individual variable annuities that offer death benefits and maturity guarantees.
Stunned investors responded to the OSC's announcement when trading markets reopened on June 22, 2009. The Company's shares dropped 12% to close at $17.67 on an unusually high trading volume of almost 8 million shares.
On September 09, 2009, an amended class action complaint was filed in this matter by the plaintiffs.
On September 21, 2009, two of the defendants, Dominic D'Alessandro and Peter Rubenovitch, were dropped from the proceeding.
On November 2, 2009, two orders were entered by the court. The first motion consolidated all actions under Master File No. 09 CV 6185 was granted. In the second order the law firm of Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP were approved as Lead Counsel for the class, and Locals 302 and 612 of the International Union of Operating Engineers-Employers Construction Industry Retirement Trust, Western Washington Laborers-Employers Pension Trust and the California Ironworkers Field Pension Trust were appointed as Lead Plaintiff.
On December 29, 2009, an Amended Complaint was filed by the lead plaintiff against the defendants in this case. The defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss the complaint on April 29, 2010.
According to the Opinion and Order #100349 signed by Judge John F. Keenan on May 23, 2011, Lead Plaintiffs have failed adequately to state its claims for securities fraud under § 10(b) of the '34 Act or Rule 10b-5 and its control-person claims under § 20(a) of the '34 Act. Therefore, Manulife and the Individual Defendants' motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint is granted. Lead Plaintiffs are granted sixty (60) days from the entry of this Opinion and Order to file a second amended complaint.
On July 22, 2011, the plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Class Action Complaint, amending the alleged class period. On September 19, 2012, the Court issued an Order granting Defendants' motion to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint with prejudice.