The number of court-approved securities class-action settlements hit a 14-year low in 2012, but total settlement amounts more than doubled over the previous year, according to data released Wednesday by Cornerstone Research.
Fifty-three settlements were reported in 2012, an 18% decrease from 2011, and a decline of more than 45% from the 10-year average from 2002 through 2011, according to Cornerstone’s Securities Class Action Settlements—2012 Review and Analysis.
But total settlements in 2012 were $2.9 billion, up from $1.4 billion in 2011.
The number of mega-settlements—those above $100 million—accounted for nearly 75% of 2012 settlement dollars, the report found.
The report notes that as securities class actions historically take a number of years to settle, the decrease in settlements may be due in part to the relatively low number of cases filed in 2009 and 2010. One-third of the settlements in 2012 were for issuers in the financial services industry, with the technology and pharmaceutical industries being the next most prevalent sectors, the report found.