Pensions&Investments

By James Comtois

September 04, 2020

Participants in the Teamster Members Retirement Plan filed suit against Allianz Global Investors and its subsidiaries saying investors in a hedge fund it managed lost nearly $1 billion.

Teamster Members Retirement Plan (formerly known as GCIU Inter-Local Pension Plan) was an investor in AllianzGI’s Structured Alpha U.S. Equity 500 hedge fund. The complaint, filed Wednesday in federal court in New York by the retirement plan, argues that AllianzGI assured investors that the fund was designed to outperform regardless of market volatility and that its assets would be protected against a market crash.

But when equity markets became volatile in late February and early March, the defendants abandoned the fund’s risk controls and “recklessly ‘rolled the dice’ in the hope that adverse market trends would quickly reverse course before the fund would have to recognize devastating losses,” court documents said.

AllianzGI failed to rebalance its market neutral positions or buy more than token hedge positions even though it had plenty of time do so, which, the suit said, led “to the collapse of a hedge fund and the evaporation, almost overnight, of almost a billion dollars of its investors’ money.”

The plaintiffs requested a jury trial.

An AllianzGI spokeswoman emailed the following statement to P&I: “AllianzGI continues to review this latest complaint, which appears to cover similar ground to those that have preceded it. While the losses sustained by the Structured Alpha portfolio during the market rout in late February and March are very disappointing, AllianzGI believes the complaints filed are without merit and plans to vigorously defend itself against the claims.”

William C. Fredericks and Donald A. Broggi, partners at Scott & Scott Attorneys at Law, attorneys for the plaintiff, could not be reached for comment.

The retirement plan had $829 million in assets as of June 30, 2019 according to its latest Form 5550.