Federal securities class-action filings through Sept. 30, 2012 have been slower when compared to the same time period in 2011, according to the annual PricewaterhouseCoopers Securities Litigation Update.
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The report analyzed 137 cases filed through the third quarter of 2012, compared to 142 cases filed through September 30, 2011. PwC found that if filings continued at a similar rate, 183 federal securities class actions are expected to be filed by the end of the year compared to a total of 191 filings made in 2011 – a decrease of approximately 4.2 percent – just above the annual average (180) of cases filed since the enactment of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Accounting-related cases during the first three quarters of 2012 represented 31 percent of filings, which is a nine percentage point decrease from the percentage of filings during the comparable period in 2011 (40 percent). Through the third quarter of 2012, the most common accounting-related allegations were inadequate internal controls and improper revenue recognition, which were cited in 63 percent and 26 percent of accounting-related cases, respectively.
Foreign cases represented 33 percent of the accounting-related cases filed in 2012, which is a 24 percentage point decrease from 2011 – likely caused by the decrease in cases filed against China-based companies. The most prevalent accounting-related allegations in these foreign cases were internal controls estimates and overstatement of assets.
The report pointed to the return of the pharmaceutical efficacy cases as an emerging trend this year. It showed that there were eight filings through the end of the third quarter during 2012 as compared to just one case in all of 2011.
"Based on filings in the first nine months of 2012, it seems the decline in health industry cases in 2011 was short lived," Patricia A. Etzold, securities litigation partner with PwC, said in a statement.