FX collective action: Phillip Evans v Barclays Bank PLC and Others

Hausfeld acts for Phillip Evans, formerly an Inquiry Chair at the CMA and a Senior Policy Adviser at Which?, in his application to pursue an opt-out collective action against six global banks seeking damages in respect of unlawful practices in the FX market. 

The claim arises from two decisions of the European Commission adopted on 16 May 2019 in which the Commission found that the banks exchanged commercially sensitive information and trading plans and occasionally coordinated their trading strategies, contrary to EU competition law.  The Commission imposed fines of over €1 billion.  The European Commission’s full press release can be read here.

The claim

Mr Evans has applied to the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal for permission to bring collective proceedings on behalf of two “classes” of persons comprising participants in the FX market who entered into spot trades and/or FX outright forward transactions in the EEA involving the so-called “G10 currencies” with entities in the Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan, MUFG Bank, RBS/NatWest, UBS banking groups, and/or other relevant financial institutions, between 2007 and 2013.

Mr Evans seeks the Tribunal’s permission to pursue opt-out proceedings under which UK-domiciled members of the proposed classes will automatically be included in the proposed classes unless they opt out and foreign domiciled class members, whilst not automatically included, will be entitled to opt in.

The claim is factually and legally complex given the size and global nature of the FX market and the scope of the proposed classes.  It was included in The Lawyer’s top 20 cases of the year for 2020.

Specialist team

Hausfeld has a wealth of experience in collective actions and is co-lead counsel in the US FX class action, which has so far recovered billions of dollars for those affected by FX misconduct in the US.

Mr Evans is also supported by a consultative panel chaired by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, a crossbench member of the House of Lords who was previously a part time judge in the High Court and a member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal. 

Mr Evans and Hausfeld are working with a specialist litigation funder, Bench Walk Advisors, to bring the claim.

What next?

Following a case management conference on 15 January 2021, the Tribunal has listed the certification hearing for five days between 12 and 16 July 2021.

Another party, Michael O’Higgins FX Class Representative Limited, has made a similar application which also seeks to combine follow-on claims for damages arising from the infringements identified in the Commission’s decisions.  As such, the Tribunal will have to consider which of Mr Evans and Michael O’Higgins FX Class Representative Limited is the most suitable representative to act as class representative.  This is known as a ‘carriage’ dispute and, whilst a common feature of other jurisdictions with mature class action regimes, this is the first time that it has been considered by the Tribunal.  On 6 March 2020, the Tribunal handed down a judgment (available here) in which it decided that the carriage dispute should be resolved at the same time as the main certification hearing.

Further information

There is a dedicated website for this action, www.fxclaimuk.com, which is regularly updated.

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