Goal recently contributed to a country profile on “Africa” in Edition 51 of the Asset Servicing Times magazine.

“Strate, the licensed central securities depository (CSD) in South Africa, has cemented its position as an African CSD that sought to break barriers beyond its continent. The depository settles close to 30 million transactions per year, with assets under custody in excess of 6.4 trillion South African rand (€6.4 billion), and provides settlement for securities and derivative products such as  exchange-traded funds and retail notes.”

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We are pleased to announce that Goal Group has recently joined a paper recycling scheme to save energy and reduce pollution. The recovered paper we manage to collect goes back into new products which we all use every day – like newspapers, corrugated containers, grocery sacks, cereal boxes and office paper. Recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials.
Since Goal Group has joined the paper recycling scheme we have managed to save 6 trees in approximately 3 months.

There are many reasons why you should recycle paper which include conservation, energy saving, reducing pollution and landfill reduction. We hope to encourage more people to recycle their unwanted paper.

Paper screwed up into a ball

Paper recycling can save a significant amount of energy used for the manufacturing of new paper or cardboard products. If we recycle our paper, it will reduce the energy needed to cut down, transport, and process the trees into the finished product.
When paper products are sent to landfills, methane is released as the product rots. This methane is harmful to our environment, and most scientists believe that increasing methane and carbon dioxide levels are the two main contributing factors to climate change.
We take our environmental responsibility very serious and encourage others to follow suit.

London and New York, xx October 2012 – GOAL Group Limited, a claims outsourcing provider and tax reclamation specialist, today announced the appointment of Michael T. Bancroft, CPA to head up its new presence in the Americas based in Wilmington, DE.

Mr Bancroft has specialised in class action claims administration since the 1980s, with his case experience embracing security, antitrust, product, consumer, governmental and employment class actions.

Stephen Everard, CEO, GOAL Group, comments: “Michael’s 30+ years of experience in all aspects of claims administration, with one of the top claims administrators in the country, puts him in a unique and elite class. His expertise in claims processing, court approved plans of allocations, settlement fund distribution and tax reporting makes him the perfect choice to head up our new U.S. office.”

GOAL Group’s new US operation, launched on October 1, extends the company’ services, widely employed in Europe and Asia, to a fully global client base, providing class action claim filing services to corporate pension funds, global custodians, banks, local government authorities, brokerage firms and hedge funds. With the passing of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in the U.S., foreign financial institutions are increasingly looking for help and services in reporting income and investments for US citizens, making tax reclamation and claim filing services essential.

Mr Bancroft started his career in 1979 at the Certified Public Accounting firm Heffler, Radetich & Saitta LLP, in Philadelphia, PA, and became a Partner in 1986, with his sole responsibilities relating to claims administration. He left Heffler as the firm’s Litigation Department Head.

Michael Bancroft comments: “Over the past 30 years I have processed claims filed in hundreds of security and antitrust class actions and I know the data requirements, costs and staff time it takes to file a complete and accurate claim. I also believe with the current climate of case complexities, timing of settlements, custodial staffing costs and turnover that prudent financial institutions will have to outsource its in-house claims processing to cut costs and maintain client requests. I joined GOAL because I believe in their forward thinking, world-wide outsourcing model and most of all, I support their commitment to develop and maintain a proprietary case research and claim calculation platform. In my opinion the functionality and accuracy of our current platforms, along with our website’s client portal, are second to none. With our in-house team of IT, research and claim specialists, the day a case is filed, we start the process of providing clients with current and accurate case alerts, updates and claim calculations.”

Mr Bancroft continues: “With the compliance pressures of FATCA and every country’s economic pressures to generate revenue, the importance of effective tax reclamation on cross-border securities earnings is ripe. Every custodian, trustee, money manager and advisor will now have additional fiduciary responsibilities added to their plate and we offer solutions, both in-house and outsourcing, to meet all tax reclamation requirements.”

A US District judge has largely dismissed the claims of a class action suit filed against Sony after an April 2011 data breach. For a month, millions of user’s personal details were compromised after hackers penetrated the defenses of Playstation Network, Qriocity.

The class action claimed the security breach of their personal data was a result of Sony’s negligence to security.

Details of the class action case

The case was brought in front of Judge Anthony Battagalia by consumers of the PSN service, who cited negligence, unjust enrichment, bailment, and violations of California consumer-protection statutes on behalf of Sony.

Judge Anthony Battagalia dismissed all of these claims in a 36-page order. He found the company did not violate any consumer-protection laws and importantly, the plaintiffs were not subscribed to the premium PSN services, and “received the PSN services free of cost”.

Sony’s Network Security

Battagalia said users should have known that Sony’s security was not “perfect”. As a large commercial company, they are open to online attacks and the breach in April 2011 was not the fault of Sony, but was the consequence of an outside criminal action.

It was also noted that the company has a comprehensive Privacy Policy that each user signed before using the service. The Policy features “clear admonitory language”. This led to the Judge also ruling out prejudice from the charges.

Future of the case

At this stage of proceedings, the plaintiffs have been given the option to amend their claims for injunctive relief and violation of consumer protection law before continuing legal action. Sony has moved to dismiss the class action.

At the first hearing in the criminal prosecution trial of three former Olympus executives (former Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former Executive Vice President Hisashi Mori and ex-auditing officer Hideo Yamada) and Olympus Corporation itself, all three defendants and the company pleaded guilty to all counts in the indictment. The defendants are charged with infringement of the Japanese Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. Olympus’ former Chairman, Tsuyoshi Kikukawa stated “full responsibility lies with me…as the former CEO”.

The three individuals accused admitted that, from around 1998, they had shuffled stock in order to conceal paper losses amounting to nearly 100 billion yen, resulting from investment failures by Olympus Corp’s financial management during the last years of Japan’s bubble economy in the late 1980’s. The concealment was carried out by moving losses offshore to overseas funds, and then burying the fund losses with money obtained in the acquisition of three domestic venture companies and a UK medical device manufacturer.

Sarah Mansfield

Sarah Mansfield – Sales and Marketing Analyst

We are pleased to announce that Sarah Mansfield has recently been appointed as our Sales and Marketing Analyst based in our London office. Sarah will report directly to Stephen Everard CEO and will be responsible for the administration and development of Goal’s sales & marketing efforts globally which will include tasks such as maintaining the sales pipeline, website updates, regular sales meetings with Goal’s global offices and network of sales agents, managing Goal’s relationship with publishers and PR companies.

A class action typically arises when a large number of people believe they have been caused harm, or have been negatively affected by a corporation. If the defendant is well-known, the case becomes high profile in the media.

Here, we take a look at the five biggest class actions in terms of damages sought.

5. Exxon-Mobil

$5 billion (later reduced to $500 million)

In 2001, a federal judge ordered Exxon-Mobil to pay $5 billion to the thousands of people affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The spill occurred in Prince Williams Sound, Alaska in March 1989 when an oil tanker struck a reef. It spilled up to the highest estimate of 750, 000 barrels of crude oil.

Billed as a considerable environmental disaster, it affected over 1,300 miles of coastline.

The $5 billion paid punitive damages and interest to workers and natives of Alaska.

4. World Com

$6.2 billion

In 2005, investors in Word Com launched a class action lawsuit. The lawsuits were aimed at the company, and employees Bernard Ebbers (CEO), Scott Sullivan (CFO), David Myers (Controller) and Buford Yates (Accounting Director).

The charges brought up were for fraud, with World Com having discrepancies in their books of over $11 billion, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In particular, they were seen to have inflated revenue by inputting false statements.

3. Enron

$7.2 billion

Arguably the most famous class action suit, the energy-trader collapsed at the same time as World Com, also amidst charges of fraud. Investors filed under federal and state securities laws, targeting the company and directors Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay.

The class action settlement was a huge $7.2 billion, the largest pay out so far in a shareholder securities action. The money was used to compensate shareholders whose stock became worthless during the company’s collapse.

2. Wal-Mart

Seeking $11 billion

Filed in 2000, this pending case involves a female employee of Wal-mart suing them under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for sexual discrimination. The woman claims she was denied promotion because of her gender.

Changing to a class action case, it now represents every female employee of Wal-Mart from 1998, involving tens of thousands of people.

It is the largest class action involving sexual discrimination in history,

1. Master Tabacco Settlement

$206 billion over 25 years

The largest class action settlement by far was agreed in 1998. Involving six Tabacco giants – Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, Lorillard Tobacco Company, Philip Morris Incorporates, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Commonwealth Tobacco, and Liggett & Myers, the huge sum releases the companies from further litigation in state courts.

The lawsuits were filed under consumer protection and anti-trust laws and the money will go towards the recovery of smoking-related health care costs, and to enforce laws to reduce smoking rates in people under the age of eighteen.

This was seen as a moral victory by many, which could have long term benefits for class action settlements.

It is important to note, when a case is settled, the defendant agrees to pay damages but does not admit wrongdoing.