Who's suing whom

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The Independent Online
JAMES KEEN, a former convertibles and warrants dealer at UBS, is suing UBS and its former head of international equities Hector Sants, over information the investment bank provided to the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA) about Mr Keen in 1994.

Mr Keen was sacked by UBS in 1994 and was subsequently the subject of proceedings by the SFA, proceedings Mr Keen has always contested. The SFA also proceeded against Mr Keen's boss, Mark Larkin.

The SFA's case against Mr Keen was that he had breached the regulator's "marking to market" rules. These require that securities such as derivatives are valued on a bank's books each day according to their current market value.

Mr Keen, of Hopton Street, London, is now suing UBS Ltd, UBS Research Ltd and UBS Services Ltd, as well as Mr Sants, for "damages for loss and damage occasioned by the negligent mis-statements (of the defendants) ... on or about 18 May 1994 in a Withdrawal Notice to the SFA."

The case is complicated by the fact that UBS has recently merged with its Swiss rival SBC. Also, Mr Sants has left UBS and is set to join Wall Street investment bank Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette in September to run their international equities business.

THIS MORNING the High Court in London will begin hearing an action concerning Express Newspapers' alleged misuse of a pension fund surplus and withholding of pension increases from its older pensioners. The case has taken over seven years to come to court.

Ronald Cowell, 75, an electrician who retired in 1986 after 22 years service with the Express, has complained that his pension has not been increased since his retirement. In fact it has fallen by a third in real terms, he says. An exception was a one-off increase of 3 per cent paid in 1997 - after the action had started. Another discretionary 3 per cent increase is going through this year.

When he retired Mr Cowell was a member of the Express Pension Fund for Production and Clerical workers. In 1988 funds were taken from this fund and three others to form the current Express Newspapers Pension Scheme. These funds included a surplus that was calculated by reference to all members of the scheme, including Mr Cowell.

In the case of the Production and Clerical Fund this transferred surplus amounted to pounds 27m.

Much of this surplus was then used to provide improved benefits for the then current employees of the Express. These employees were granted 3 per cent per annum increases on their pensions. Similar benefits were given to those employees being made redundant in the company's 1987 manpower reduction programme.

Whilst some one-off increases of pounds 12 per week were granted to some long- standing pensioners, those who had been made redundant in 1986 were singled out to receive nothing, according to Mr Cowell's solicitor, Giles Orton of Eversheds.

Since 1988 Mr Cowell has seen his pension eaten away by inflation, whilst Express Newspapers has been able to use the surplus to reduce its own contributions to the scheme, according to Mr Orton.

Mr Cowell complained to the trustees that under the rules adopted in 1989 all members of the new scheme should be entitled to 3 per cent increases. The trustees did not agree, but accepted that the position was sufficiently unclear that they should refer the matter to the court. The trustees are therefore funding the present action.

Express Newspapers is arguing that the rules do not provide for 3 per cent increases and that if they do this was a mistake and should be corrected ("rectified") by the court.

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