US - The US$35bn State Retirement and Pension System of Maryland (SRPS) potentially has up to $25bn worth of assets affected by securities invested in the Republic of Sudan.
The news comes as Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele recently urged managers of the state's pension system to divest its holdings in companies doing business in the African country.
According to a spokesperson at SRPS, there is approximately $16bn in five different co-mingled funds and $9bn in 14 separately managed accounts that may hold affected securities.
She said: “Our board is interested in this and has charged the investment committee to review and study this to see how deeply we are affected and to make a plan to go forward.
“It’s not a cut and dried process particularly with co-mingled accounts. They are indexed so you would have to divest the entire index and reinvest the portfolio that isn’t affected. There’s a lot of homework to be done.”
It is yet unknown whether the board will decide to actively disengage from investing in Sudan but it may be out of its hands if the state bill (HB1001) is passed.
The bill prohibits external investment managers selected by the board from investing in funds in any foreign company with an “equity tied to the government of the Republic of Sudan or its instrumentality's.”
It is believed the bill would require divestment from the Sudan within three years.
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