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AFTRA retirement fund settles JP Morgan suit

Fund filed suit in 2009 over hedge fund losses

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Retirement Fund reached an “agreement in principal” to settle a 2009 lawsuit over losses that the plan sustained from the bank’s Sigma Finance hedge fund.

The bank and the retirement plan disclosed the settlement Tuesday in a joint statement provided by a spokeswoman for the federal court in Manhattan, where the AFTRA fund filed its suit.

“The parties are drafting a formal settlement agreement, to be submitted to the court for approval within approximately three weeks,” the statement said. “The settlement terms will remain confidential until the agreement is submitted to the Court. The settlement is subject to the Court’s approval and to certain other conditions.”

Reps for the retirement fund and the bank had no further comment Tuesday.

The suit alleged that JPMorgan Chase lost a “substantial portion” in cash collateral in medium-term notes issued by Sigma Finance Inc., a structured investment vehicle sponsored by Sigma Finance Corp. It said creditors seized over $25 billion of Sigma’s $27 billion in assets in September, 2008 and October, 2008, leaving about $1.9 billion as security for about $6.2 billion of outstanding medium-term notes.

The retirement fund, which has assets of $1.5 billion, covers members of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.

Trustees of the AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds entered last week into the debate over merging the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA, asserting that they have nothing to do with a “feasibility review” that SAG and AFTRA had unveiled. The review found that there’s no legal impediment to merging the independently operated plans.

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