US - The Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI) has decided not to divest from Sudan despite recent state and national calls to do so.
Instead, the US$11.5bn fund announced it would offer a “Sudan free” investment option to its existing 401(k) participants.
PERSI board chairman, Jody Olson, said: “PERSI’s only mission is to provide a secure retirement for its members, the public employees of Idaho.”
Olson continued: “As individuals we feel deeply sympathetic for the people of Darfur, but as an organisation with legal mandates and fiduciary responsibilities, we must stay true to our mission.”
PERSI stated eight reports had been submitted to the board, which in its opinion, clearly showed it could not divest members’ money for legal and fiduciary reasons.
In a separate development, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched an online tool in June, allowing investors to examine company disclosure documents to expose holdings in countries designated “State Sponsors of Terrorism'' by the US secretary of state.
Countries the watch list included: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
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