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Friday, May 09, 2003

MLIM Settles Mercury Related Suits

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM) has settled a lawsuit brought in the United Kingdom by one of its pension clients. The settlement included a payment of between 30m to 40m to the pension plan (called a "co-op scheme in the U.K.), reports Reuters.

This is the second time that Merrill's MLIM unit has settled a suit brought by a U.K. pension plan client over poor performance in its funds. It already paid 70 million to Unilever when that plan sponsor threatened a similar suit and in August of 2002 it settled a claim brought by J. Sainsbury's pension plan. AstraZeneca dropped a lawsuit in March and the Surrey County Council pension fund is reportedly still considering filing an action.

The suits arose from losses in the plans in the mid-1990s when Mercury Asset Management advised the plans. Merrill inherited the suits when it purchased Mercury in 1997. Merrill recently rebranded Mercury under the MLIM brand.

Robert Fairburn, chief operating officer for MLIM in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, told the wire service that MLIM has won 25 of 55 investment management mandates from U.K. pension plans so far this year. In the first quarter it brought in $3.3 billion of assets, added Fairburn.  

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