A new study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that the total federal securities class action settlement amount for 2012 hit a decade low.

According to the report, investors receive $2.3 billion in securities class action settlements last year, which is the lowest total amount since 2002. In sum, plaintiffs filed 172 securities class actions last year, the lowest amount since 2009. The second half of 2012 saw 21 percent fewer cases filed than the first half.

The PwC report echoes findings from two other recent studies from Cornerstone Research and the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse, and NERA Economic Consulting. Both studies found securities class actions declined in 2012 due to a drop in the number of filings concerning Chinese reverse mergers and filings concerning mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, experts say that the absence of any event-driven litigation led to the decline.

According to PwC partner Patricia Etzold, who authored the PwC report, the slower pace in securities class actions probably won’t last.

“The plaintiffs attorneys are continuing to be very active,” she told Thomson Reuters. “Where that’s focused is yet to be seen. There’s definitely more incentive for them to work with certain potential whistleblowers in pursuing those cases.”

Read more recent InsideCounsel stories concerning securities class actions:

Securities class actions decline in 2012

Amgen’s effect on securities class actions

Securities class action settlement amounts increased in 2012

Supreme Court’s Amgen decision makes it easier for shareholders to bring class actions

Securities class action firms earned $653 million in fees in 2012

Securities class action filings drop sharply

Opt-outs: A growing trend in securities litigation