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In late 2018, 38 days into a Federal Court trial, Amanda Banton and her team agreed to settle a class action brought against global ratings agency Standard & Poor’s. It was the crowning moment in a decade of hard work and thinking outside the box that has had global implications.

“It started with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. That was the genesis of everything that came afterwards.

Popular narrative has it that Australia escaped the global financial crisis (GFC). It’s true that, for the majority, life continued on pretty much as normal. It could have been much worse – and for some it was. I know, as I represented many of them.

In 2009, we brought a class action against Lehman Brothers on behalf of 72 local councils, charities and investors who had major losses from the financial products known as Complex Debt Obligations (CDOs) and Constant Proportion Debt Obligations (CPDOs). The Lehman’s case was the first trial in the world to examine the conduct of an investment bank in the creation and selling of toxic financial products. It also paved the way for us to commence proceedings against the ratings agencies that effectively green-lighted those products.

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