NERA Economic Consulting Releases Annual Securities Class Action Trends Report; Securities Class Action Filings Rise to Greatest Level Seen Since 2008

25 January 2016

New York—In 2015, 234 securities class actions were filed in federal courts, more than in any year since the height of the financial crisis in 2008, according to Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2015 Full-Year Review, an annual report produced by NERA Economic Consulting. This figure represents an 8% increase over the 216 class action cases filed in 2014, and is roughly 6% higher than the average rate of the preceding five years. According to the Trends authors, filing growth in 2015 was dominated by 182 filings alleging violations of Rule 10b-5, Section 11, or Section 12.

“The speed of how quickly securities class action cases are being filed from the time the alleged fraud has been perpetrated has increased dramatically over the past few years,” said Trends contributor and NERA Senior Vice President Dr. David Tabak. “Not only have class periods grown shorter, but the average time from the end of the alleged class period until the first filing of a complaint has fallen from 151 days in 2011 to 68 days in 2015, while the median number of days until filing has also fallen by more than half over the same period.  This may suggest increased surveillance or competition in the plaintiffs’ bar.”

Additional Key Trends

  • Firms in the Electronic Technology and Technology Services sector saw the greatest number of class action cases filed against them, which totaled 52. This represented 22% of all filings, and was a 90% increase over the 2014 total.
  • 19% of securities class actions filed had a defendant in the Financial sector, down sharply from 29% in 2014.
  • Class periods were the shortest on record—the median falling to 310 days—although cases filed were not necessarily smaller in size.
  • Six out of the 10 largest settlements involved Financial sector defendants and stemmed from litigation related to the financial crisis.
  • Filings continue to be concentrated in the Second and Ninth Circuits, where more cases were filed than all other circuits combined.
  • The number of securities class action cases pending reached 622 in 2015, a 16% increase since the 2011 low and the highest amount since 2006.
  • Aggregate plaintiffs’ attorney fees and expenses were $1.095 billion in 2015, an increase of nearly 63% over 2014.

NERA Securities Class Action Trends Report Series

NERA has been analyzing trends in securities class actions for more than 20 years. This year-end study, Recent Trends in Securities Class Action Litigation: 2015 Full-Year Review, is co-authored by NERA Senior Consultant Svetlana Starykh and Consultant Stefan Boettrich, with contributions from David Tabak. In addition to NERA’s US report, the firm produces annual reports on securities class action litigation in Canada, and UK regulatory enforcement actions.

To download the report, visit:

About NERA

NERA Economic Consulting ( is a global firm of experts dedicated to applying economic, finance, and quantitative principles to complex business and legal challenges. For over half a century, NERA's economists have been creating strategies, studies, reports, expert testimony, and policy recommendations for government authorities and the world's leading law firms and corporations. We bring academic rigor, objectivity, and real world industry experience to bear on issues arising from competition, regulation, public policy, strategy, finance, and litigation.

NERA's clients value our ability to apply and communicate state-of-the-art approaches clearly and convincingly, our commitment to deliver unbiased findings, and our reputation for quality and independence. Our clients rely on the integrity and skills of our unparalleled team of economists and other experts backed by the resources and reliability of one of the world's largest economic consultancies. With its main office in New York City, NERA serves clients from more than 25 offices across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.