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Rating:Morgan Keegan Faces Five More Suits Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, August 01, 2008

Morgan Keegan Faces Five More Suits

Reported by Erin Kello

Tennessee law firm Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson & Mitchell has lodged five class action suits against Regions and Morgan Keegan over losses in some RMK mutual funds held by trust, custodial and agency accounts for which Regions Bank acts as trustee, custodian or agent.

C. Fred Daniels, who serves as Trustee ad Litem, commenced the suits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

The various complaints named as defendants , Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc., Regions Financial Holdings, Inc. and their parent corporation Regions Financial Corporation, as well as the funds’ accounting firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Regions Morgan Keegan has been sued by several law firms representing shareholders for losses in its fund in the past few months. The SEC is also currently investigating the firm.




Company Press Release

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - (Business Wire) Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson & Mitchell, PLLC announced today that it has filed class action suits concerning certain mutual funds of the Regions Morgan Keegan Select family of open-end funds and the RMK family of closed-end funds held by trust, custodial and agency accounts for which Regions Bank, doing business as Regions Morgan Keegan Trust, is trustee, custodian or agent.

C. Fred Daniels, in his capacity as Trustee ad Litem, has commenced five separate class action lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee (the “Court”) on behalf of all trusts (the “Trusts”) and custodial accounts (the “Custodial Accounts”) and their respective trustees, representatives, and fiduciaries: (a) for which Regions Bank is a trustee or a directed trustee, custodian, or agent; (b) that purchased, otherwise acquired or held certain of the Regions Morgan Keegan Select proprietary mutual fund family of open-end funds, and/or the RMK proprietary mutual fund family of closed-end funds (collectively referred to as the “Funds”) during the period from December 6, 2004 (January 23, 2006, in the case of the RMK Multi-Sector High Income Fund) through February 6, 2008 (the “Class Period”); and (c) which are effectively excluded from, or are inadequately protected by, previously-filed class actions relating to the Funds (the “Previous Class Actions”).

The Funds and their respective trading symbols are as follows:

Regions Morgan Keegan Select Funds:



Select High Income Fund (MKHIX, RHICX, RHIIX)

Select Intermediate Bond Fund (MKIBX, RIBCX, RIBIX)

Select Short-Term Bond Fund (MSBIX, RSTCX, MSTBX)

RMK Funds:



RMK Advantage Income Fund (RMA)

RMK High Income Fund (RMH)

RMK Multi-Sector High Income Fund (RHY)

RMK Strategic Income Fund (RSF)



The Trustee ad Litem

These actions are brought by a special fiduciary (referred to as a “Trustee ad Litem”) appointed by the Probate Court of Jefferson County, Alabama (the “Probate Court”) for the limited and specific purposes of monitoring, evaluating, and participating in the Previous Class Actions and taking any and all appropriate actions on behalf of the Trusts and the Custodial Accounts relating to the Funds. The Probate Court’s appointment of the Trustee ad Litem resulted from Regions Bank’s conflict of interest between its interests as a defendant in one or more of the Previous Class Actions (and as an affiliate of other defendants in the Previous Class Actions) on the one hand, and its interests and duties as a fiduciary for Trusts and Custodial Accounts that purchased, otherwise acquired, or held, shares of one or more of the Funds on the other hand. The Probate Court’s Order dated June 9, 2008 and Amended Order Appointing Trustee ad Litem dated June 20, 2008 (the “Appointment Order”), appointed C. Fred Daniels as Trustee ad Litem. Mr. Daniels is an attorney with substantial experience in trust law and is a partner with the law firm of Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas & O’Neal LLP. The Probate Court proceeding is styled In re Regions Bank, d/b/a Regions Morgan Keegan Trust, Probate Court of Jefferson County, Alabama, Case no. 200853. Additional information about the Probate Court proceeding and the Trustee ad Litem is available at www.RMKlawsuit.com.

The Reason for Filing These Actions

It is uncertain whether the Previous Class Actions include the Trust and Custodial Accounts as members of the respective putative classes, or otherwise adequately protect the interests of the Trust and Custodial Accounts, and the Trustee ad Litem therefore has filed these class actions for the benefit of the Trust and Custodial Accounts as a precaution. By filing these actions, neither the Trustee ad Litem nor the Representative Plaintiff Trusts named as such in the complaints acknowledge, contend, or assert that any of the Representative Plaintiff Trusts or other Trusts or Custodial Accounts (or their respective trustees, representatives, and fiduciaries) otherwise included in the class defined above are in fact excluded from the Previous Class Actions. Rather, these actions were filed to further the purposes of the Appointment Order, i.e., to protect the interests of the Trusts and Custodial Accounts. As explained in more detail below, this notice is similarly being published as a precaution.

Allegations of the Complaints

The various complaints name as defendants Morgan Keegan Asset Management, Inc., the Funds’ investment advisor, Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc., the distributor of the Funds’ shares, their officers and directors, Regions Financial Holdings, Inc. and their parent corporation Regions Financial Corporation, and the Funds’ accounting firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP. The RMK Funds are also defendants in the suits affecting those respective Funds. Not all these persons or entities are named as defendants in all the complaints. While there are different specific legal and factual allegations in each of the five complaints, generally the various complaints allege that the defendants violated the disclosure and/or anti-fraud requirements of federal securities laws and in some instances the Investment Company Act. The Funds and the defendants misrepresented or failed to disclose material facts relating to (i) the nature of the risks being assumed by an investment in the Funds, (ii) the illiquidity of certain securities in which the Funds invested, (iii) the extent to which the Funds’ portfolios contained securities that were illiquid or exhibited the characteristics of illiquid securities so that they were highly vulnerable to suddenly becoming unsalable at their estimated values at the prices at which they were being carried on the Funds’ records, (iv) the extent to which the Funds’ portfolios were subject to fair value procedures, (v) the extent to which the values of such securities, and, consequently, the net asset values of the Funds, were based on estimates of value and the uncertainty inherent in such estimated values, (vi) the concentration of investments in a single industry and (vii) the net asset values of the Funds.

The complaints allege that as a result of the eventual disclosures and partial disclosures of these misstatements and omissions, the prices of the Funds declined significantly.

Purpose of This Notice

This notice is being published pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which requires that a plaintiff in a securities class action publish a notice advising members of the purported class that, among other things, any member of the purported class may move the court to serve as lead plaintiff of the class. If it is determined that the Previous Class Actions do in fact exclude or fail to adequately protect the Trust and Custodial Accounts as members of the respective putative classes, then it will be necessary for each of the class actions filed by the Trustee ad Litem to proceed through lead plaintiffs. A lead plaintiff is a representative party that acts on behalf other class members in directing the litigation. In this instance, the purported classes are composed of Trusts and Custodial Accounts, many of which, as a matter of law, can only bring the type of claims being made in these class actions through the trustee, and therefore the Trustee ad Litem has acted to bring these claims on their behalf. However, certain other of the Trusts and Custodial Accounts may act through other persons, and therefore there are persons with interests in the Trusts and Custodial Accounts who have the legal capacity to serve as a lead plaintiff if they choose to do so. Whether a person with an interest in one of the affected Trusts or Custodial Accounts has the legal capacity to serve as a lead plaintiff must be determined on an individual basis, but generally these persons would be co-trustees of Trusts, settlors (also known as grantors) of revocable Trusts, or principals of Custodial Accounts. Persons who generally do not have the legal capacity to act on behalf of the Trust or Custodial Account in this type of matter—and who therefore cannot serve as lead plaintiff—are beneficiaries of Trusts (whether current beneficiaries or those who may become beneficiaries in the future), settlors (also known as grantors) of irrevocable Trusts, and beneficiaries or other persons with interests in Custodial Accounts other than as principals.

If (1) a Regions Morgan Keegan Trust or Custodial Account in which you have an interest is a member of one of the classes described above, and (2) you are a co-trustee of a Trust, the settlor or grantor of a revocable Trust, or a principal of a Custodial Account, you may, not later than September 29, 2008, move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff of a class or classes of which you (or the Trust(s) or Custodial Account(s) you represent) are a member, if you chose to do so. To be appointed a lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that your Trust or Custodial Account’s claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Under certain circumstances multiple class members may serve together as lead plaintiff. Your Trust or Custodial Account’s ability to share in any recovery will not be affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. Any member of a purported class who has the legal capacity to act on behalf of the Trust or Custodial Account(s) in which he, she or it has an interest may move the court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

If it is eventually determined that the Previous Class Actions do include and adequately protect the Trust and Custodial Accounts as members of the respective putative classes, and/or if the class actions filed by the Trustee ad Litem are consolidated with the Previous Class Actions, it is possible—and the Trustee ad Litem presently believes this is likely—that the Trusts and Custodial Accounts will not exist as separate classes or subclasses, and therefore there may be no need for lead plaintiffs to represent the interests of the Trusts and Custodial Accounts in this litigation.
 

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