Week Adjourned: 7.10.09

401163 cover.inddTop Class Actions

Manulife meets its Waterloo? Ok, lousy play on words—and not everyone knows Manulife is based out of Waterloo, ON (city motto: stability). But, indeed, a class action lawsuit was filed this week on behalf investors who purchased the securities of Manulife Financial Corporation between March 28, 2008 and June 22, 2009. Manulife is considered a “safe bet” as an investment tool, and is among the top insurance companies in the world, largely due to its risk management strategies. But this time, they may not have followed their own investment guidelines.

The complaint alleges that contrary to the Company’s own risk management strategy, Manulife applied no material hedging strategy to manage risk particularly during an economic downturn (hmm, could the book at right have come in handy? just asking). 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. The class has not been certified—which means it’s not yet a definitive class action.

“Why do I need Synovus?” Yes, that was the cover headline on Synovus’ 2007 Annual Report—and there’s now at least one Synovus investor for whom that question has brand new meaning. An investor in Synovus Financial has filed a proposed securities class action lawsuit on behalf of fellow purchasers of the company stock over allegations that the company made “materially false and misleading statements” regarding their financial results. In other words, they made things look better than perhaps they really were, in order to attract investors.

It seems the heart of the issue is the company’s involvement in the Sea Island Company, a resort in Georgia, and the deteriorating condition of Sea Island, which Synovus failed to disclose. This allegedly led to a drop in share price.

Top Settlements

Better off with snake oil? It seems that a settlement may be reached between people who purchased Cold MD dietary supplement, and the manufacturers of the product. The lawsuit claims that Iomedix Cold International SRL made “false and misleading statements in their labeling and advertising of Cold MD dietary supplement.”

If you purchased Cold MD dietary supplement from March 26, 2004 through May 29, 2009 you can submit a claim at www.ColdMDSettlement.com or via U.S. mail. Each Class Member who provides a valid receipt or credit card statement showing they purchased Cold MD dietary supplement will be sent a check in the amount of $10.00 for each bottle purchased during the Class Period. If you purchased the product and don’t have a valid receipt you can still make a claim.

That’s it for this week. See you at the Bar.

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