A visionary investor explores threats and opportunities in an age of uncertainty and the critical role of leadership in aligning culture, strategy, and organizational success.
International experts and experienced asset managers cover the issues facing investors protecting their rights around the world, including international monitoring, foreign recoveries, claims funding for securities traded on non-U.S. exchanges, and third party funding issues.
From climate change to board diversity to the opioid crisis, pension funds are facing new responsibilities and opportunities in sustainability and responsible investing. How are leading funds responding to the challenge?
A seasoned advisor to corporate directors gets you inside the boardroom and discusses how boards function, what happens when they don’t function well, and what they need to hear from investors.
Two seasoned public servants offer the Republican and Democratic political views and opinions on the upcoming election.
Leading securities lawyers and fund managers present case studies on the successful use of securities litigation by pension funds to improve returns, reduce risk, and repair troubled companies in their portfolios.
Speaker: Darren J. Robbins
From accounting practices and disclosures, to cybersecurity and data privacy, to human resources and employment practices, the role of the fund general counsel/CCO has growing strategic and operational implications to successful fund management. Seasoned fund officers in law and compliance share perspectives on the evolving demands on their jobs in public policy debates, investment mandates, stakeholder relations, securities litigation, and fund governance.
Pension fund leaders share innovative insights and information on what works best in fund management and stakeholder accountability.
Technology is transforming every field of human activity. Robots are replacing people in fund management and stockpicking activities. How you can benefit and what you should fear from emerging developments in machine learning, AI, and Big Data.
Speakers: Richard A. Bennett
Nell Minow is Vice Chair of ValueEdge Advisors. She was Co-Founder and Director of GMI Ratings from 2010 to 2014, and was Editor and Co-Founder of its predecessor firm, The Corporate Library, from 2000 to 2010. Prior to co-founding The Corporate Library, Ms. Minow was a Principal of LENS, a $100 million investment firm that took positions in underperforming companies and used shareholder activism to increase their value. Her other professional experience includes serving as a Principal of LENS Investment Management, as President of Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc., and as an attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of Justice. Ms. Minow was named one of the 30 most influential investors of 2002 by Smart Money magazine and, in 2003, was dubbed "the queen of good corporate governance" by Business Week online. In 2007 she was named one of the 20 most influential people in corporate governance. In 2008 she was the sole recipient of the International Corporate Governance Network award for exceptional achievement in the field of corporate governance. She has authored over 200 articles and co-authored three books on corporate governance with Robert A.G. Monks, most recently the 5th edition of an MBA textbook titled Corporate Governance, published in 2011. Ms. Minow is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Chicago Law School.
Paul Geller, managing partner of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP’s Boca Raton, Florida office, is a founding partner of the Firm, a member of its Executive and Management Committees, and head of the Firm’s Consumer Practice Group. Mr. Geller’s 25 years of litigation experience is broad, and he has handled cases in each of the Firm’s practice areas. Notably, before devoting his practice to the representation of consumers and investors, he defended companies in high-stakes class action litigation, providing him an invaluable perspective. Mr. Geller has tried bench and jury trials on both the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ sides, and has argued before numerous state, federal, and appellate courts throughout the country.
Mr. Geller was recently selected to serve in a leadership position on behalf of governmental entities and other plaintiffs in the sprawling litigation concerning the nationwide prescription opioid epidemic. In reporting on the selection of the lawyers to lead the case, The National Law Journal reported that “
Mr. Geller is also currently serving as Co-Lead Counsel in In re EpiPen (Epinephrine Injection, USP) Mktg., Sales Practices & Antitrust Litig., a nationwide class action that alleges that pharmaceutical company Mylan N.V. and others engaged in anticompetitive and unfair business conduct in its sale and marketing of the EpiPen Auto-Injector device.
Some of Mr. Geller’s other recent noteworthy successes include a $265 million recovery against Massey Energy in In re Massey Energy Co. Sec. Litig., in which Massey was found accountable for a tragic explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia. Mr. Geller also secured a $146.25 million recovery against Duke Energy in Nieman v. Duke Energy Corp., the largest recovery in North Carolina for a case involving securities fraud, and one of the ﬁve largest recoveries in the Fourth Circuit.
Additionally, Mr. Geller was lead counsel in Kehoe v. Fidelity Fed. Bank & Trust, one of the country’s ﬁrst cases alleging a class-wide privacy violation, settling the case for a $50 million recovery in addition to enhanced privacy protections. More recently, he was one of the lead counsel in the Sony Gaming Networks Data Breach litigation, which resulted in a signiﬁcant monetary recovery and other beneﬁts to class members.
Mr. Geller serves on the Advisory Board of Emory University School of Law and the separate Board of The Institute for Complex Litigation and Mass Claims at Emory. Additionally, he is a member of the Board of Advisors for The Center on Civil Justice at the New York University School of Law. In these roles and others, Mr. Geller frequently lectures on class action and MDL issues at judicial seminars, bar conferences, and academic programs. Mr. Geller is a member of the faculty of the inaugural Mass Torts MDL Certificate Program at the Bolch Judicial Institute of Duke Law School (March 2019). Other presentations include The Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies’ Class Action Settlement Conference (“Compensation of Objectors,” San Diego, California; October 2016), and the Emory Institute’s Complex Settlements Conference co-sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center and the JPML (“Fairness Determinations: Pitfalls and Challenges in Class Settlement,” Atlanta, Georgia; December 2016).
Mr. Geller has been rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell (the highest rating available), twice named one of the nation’s top “40 Under 40” by The National Law Journal, and has been named one of “Florida’s Top Lawyers” by Law & Politics and South Florida Business Journal. He has also been named a Leading Lawyer in America by Lawdragon, a Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Trailblazer by The National Law Journal, one of Florida’s “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend magazine, and one of “Florida’s Most Effective Lawyers” by American Law Media’s Daily Business Review. Additionally, Best Lawyers® named Mr. Geller a Best Lawyer in America in the area of “Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs,” and he was additionally chosen as Lawyer of the Year in that same category. Super Lawyers Magazine has also named Mr. Geller a Florida Super Lawyer for 13 consecutive years.
Mr. Geller earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Florida, where he was a member of the University Honors Program. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Emory University School of Law, with Highest Distinction, where he was an editor of the Emory Law Journal, a member of the Order of the Coif Legal Honor Society, and was awarded multiple American Jurisprudence Book Awards for earning the highest grade in class.
Mark Solomon is a founding partner in Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP’s San Diego office and leads its international litigation practice. Over the last 23 years, he has regularly represented United States- and United Kingdom-based pension funds, and asset managers in class and non-class securities litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States. He has been admitted to the Bars of England and Wales (Barrister), Ohio and California, but now practices exclusively in California, as well as in various United States federal district and appellate courts.
Mr. Solomon has spearheaded the prosecution of many significant securities fraud cases. He has obtained multi-hundred million dollar recoveries for plaintiffs in pre-trial settlements and significant corporate governance reforms designed to limit recidivism and promote appropriate standards. He litigated, through the rare event of trial, the securities class action against Helionetics Inc. and its executives, where he won a $15.4 million federal jury verdict. Prior to the most recent financial crisis, he was instrumental in obtaining some of the first mega-recoveries in the field in California and Texas, serving as co-lead counsel in In re Informix Corp. Sec. Litig., in the federal district court for the Northern District of California, and recovering $131 million for Informix investors; and serving as co-lead counsel in Schwartz v. TXU Corp., in the federal district court for the Northern District of Texas, where he helped obtain a recovery of over $149 million for a class of purchasers of TXU securities. Solomon is currently counsel to a number of pension funds serving as lead plaintiffs in cases throughout the United States.
Before working with the Firm, Mr. Solomon practiced at the international firm Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio, followed by practicing at the Los Angeles office of New York’s Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. At these firms, his representations included the defense of securities fraud and other white-collar crimes, antitrust, copyright, commercial and real estate litigation, and reinsurance arbitration. While practicing in Los Angeles, acting for plaintiffs as sole counsel, Mr. Solomon took to trial and won complex commercial contract and real estate actions in the Orange County and Los Angeles Superior Courts, respectively.
Mr. Solomon is a past chair of the American Bar Association Directors, Officers Liability Sub Committee and the Accountants Liability Sub-Committee, and is the author of the U.K. National Association of Pension Funds 2012 “Securities Class Actions made simple” and the 2015 “Securities Fraud and Investors Remedies made simple” guides.
For the past two consecutive years, The Legal 500 has named Mr. Solomon a Recommended Lawyer in its nationwide category of “Securities Litigation – Plaintiff,” citing his dual qualifications in English and U.S. law and his leadership of the Firm’s international litigation practice. He has also been named a Super Lawyer for numerous years by Super Lawyers Magazine. He earned his law degrees at Trinity College, Cambridge University, England, Harvard Law School, and the Inns of Court School of Law in London.
Richard A. Bennett is President and CEO of ValueEdge Advisors, a firm he founded in summer 2014 to help institutional investors engage with their portfolio companies. From 2006 he was CEO and then Chairman of GMI Ratings and its predecessor, The Corporate Library, a globally recognized investment research firm specializing in corporate governance and ESG with offices in London, New York, San Diego and Portland, Maine. In August 2014 GMI Ratings was sold to MSCI.
He worked as Director of Corporate Governance for LENS, an institutional activist fund, from 1997 to 2002. He served from 2004 to 2016 as a non-executive director of Trucost, Plc, a U.K.-based firm offering products and services that allow companies, governments and fund managers to better understand their environmental performance. From 2009 to 2014, he served on the Board of Governors of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), and currently serves on the ICGN Nominating Committee. He is an independent director of Biddeford Internet Corporation d/b/a GWI (an ISP and telecom business), Atlantic Trust (Maine) (a fiduciary trust company), and Quoddy Inc. (a footwear brand enterprise).
Mr. Bennett has an extensive background in politics and government service as well as a wide range of private sector experience. A former president of the Maine State Senate, Mr. Bennett served four terms in the Maine Senate and two terms in the state’s House of Representatives. From 2013 to 2017, he was Chairman of the Maine Republican Party and a member of the Republican National Committee. In 2014 he volunteered as a member of the MainePERS ESG Integration Task Force.
Directorship magazine has recognized Mr. Bennett six times in its annual list of the 100 "most influential people in corporate governance and the boardroom." In December 2010, he was named by Global Proxy Watch as one of the "10 people around the world who had the most impact on corporate governance in the previous year".
Mr. Bennett was a member of the board of trustees of Hebron Academy from 2010 to 2019. He was a member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships from 2005 to 2009. He graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1986 and received his M.B.A. from the University of Southern Maine in 2000.
Darren Robbins is a founding partner of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP. Over the last two decades, he has served as lead counsel in more than 100 securities class actions and has recovered billions of dollars for injured shareholders.
Mr. Robbins has obtained significant recoveries in a number of actions arising out of wrongdoing related to the issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities, including the case against Goldman Sachs ($272 million recovery). Mr. Robbins also served as co-lead counsel in connection with a $627 million recovery for investors in In re Wachovia Preferred Securities & Bond/Notes Litig., one of the largest credit-crisis settlements involving Securities Act claims. Mr. Robbins also recently served as lead counsel in Schuh v. HCA Holdings, Inc., which resulted in a $215 million recovery for shareholders.
One of the hallmarks of Mr. Robbins’ practice has been his focus on corporate governance reform. In UnitedHealth, a securities fraud class action arising out of an options backdating scandal, Mr. Robbins represented lead plaintiff CalPERS and was able to obtain the cancellation of more than 3.6 million stock options held by the company’s former CEO and secure a record $925 million cash recovery for shareholders. Mr. Robbins also negotiated sweeping corporate governance reforms, including the election of a shareholder-nominated director to the company’s board of directors, a mandatory holding period for shares acquired via option exercise, and compensation reforms that tied executive pay to performance. Recently, Mr. Robbins led a shareholder derivative action brought by several pension funds on behalf of Community Health Systems, Inc. The case yielded a $60 million payment to Community Health, as well as corporate governance reforms that included two shareholder-nominated directors, the creation and appointment of a Healthcare Law Compliance Coordinator, the implementation of an executive compensation clawback in the event of a restatement, the establishment of an insider trading controls committee, and the adoption of a political expenditure disclosure policy.
Mr. Robbins was named California Lawyer Attorney of the Year and has been recognized as one of the nation’s top securities litigators by numerous organizations and publications. He has been named one of the “Top 100 Lawyers Shaping the Future” by the Daily Journal and one of the “Young Litigators 45 and Under” by The American Lawyer. The American Lawyer commended him for helping “set the pace for [his] peers,” and Chambers USA called him “a prominent figure in the field of securities litigation” and “one of the leaders of the plaintiff Bar.” Additionally, Mr. Robbins has been named a Benchmark California Star and State Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation.
Mr. Robbins is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world on securities litigation and corporate governance reform. He advises institutional investors in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Middle East, Asia and the European Union.
Mr. Robbins was awarded Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Economics from the University of Southern California, and received his Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt Law School.