The headquarters of Pennsylvania's Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) is seen at 5 N. 5th St. in Harrisburg.
Pennsylvania school pension fund to divest Russian assets
The vote targets what it says are almost $300 million directly invested in Russia and Belarus.
The Associated Press
(Harrisburg) — Pennsylvania’s biggest public pension system will begin to sell off its investments in Russia and Belarus, after its board unanimously voted to do so Thursday in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The $72.5 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System is one of the nation’s biggest public pension funds. The vote targets what it says are almost $300 million directly invested in Russia and Belarus, which is less than one-half of 1% of the fund’s total assets. Belarus has been a key ally of Russia in its attack on Ukraine.
The board’s motion has a caveat: that divesting must be consistent with the board’s prudent fiduciary duty. But the motion also decreed that the system will make no future investments in Russia or Belarus until it votes to change that policy.
Governors and lawmakers in numerous U.S. states have been taking actions to pull state investments from Russian companies, while encouraging private entities to do the same.
In Pennsylvania, lawmakers have begun drafting legislation to require the state Treasury Department and the state’s three public pension funds to divest Russia-related holdings.
The Treasury Department said it sold off as much of its $2.9 million it had invested in Russian companies as it could.
The State Employees’ Retirement System, which reported almost $36 billion in assets to start 2021, said the fund’s exposure to Russia-related investments amounts to a fraction of 1%. Its board planned to discuss the matter Friday.