Queen's Moat investors with scrambled nest eggs who read the US Press may have been given pause for thought at the rising tide of lawsuits over there against companies whose stock has slumped. Securities lawsuits now affect 8% of companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange, including mighty Microsoft and once-mighty IBM. Most companies, it seems, have been inclined to pay and be damned rather than face the formidable array of wealthy lawyers who, knowing a lucrative trend when they see one, specialise in securities suits.
British investors with axes to grind should not get excited. Private share-owning organisations (Proshare and the UK Shareholders Association), say the trend will not make it across the Atlantic, citing the lack of appetite for litigation here and the expense. Marc Galanter, professor of law at University of Wisconsin, explains: 'If bad things happen, Americans expect there will be a remedy'. The British, it seems, prefer to suffer in silence.