US - The New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF) is looking to divest from companies doing to business in Iran, if they fail to explain steps they have take to minimise risk to the pension fund.
State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the US$154bn fund, announced a three-phase strategy, starting with identifying firms that have operations in Iran related to its energy or defence sectors.
It will then ask those companies to provide a detailed description and full history of their business activities in Iran, how those activities are consistent with a sound and prudent long-term investment strategy, and what steps have been taken to mitigate risks.
If the CRF decides they have failed to take substantial steps to minimise risks it will withhold additional or new investments, decline to renew existing investments, and/or divest investments in those companies.
DiNapoli said the CRF had to ask if it could afford to risk pension fund investments in Iran.
He said: “The pension fund must be managed for the benefit of the members, retirees and beneficiaries, and investing in companies that operate in a uniquely unstable environment is not consistent with long-term investment strategies.”
The strategy parallels a programme enacted by the California State Legislature, directing the California Public Employees’ Retirement and California State Teachers’ Retirement systems to begin a divestment process from certain companies doing business in Iran.
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