US - California is considering a move which would compel the country's largest pension funds to divest from companies which do business with Iran in the latest stage in the war on terror.
Republican assemblyman Joel Anderson introduced the measure, saying: “Who is funding terrorism? It sure as hell shouldn’t be our public employees.”
He estimated the legislation would affect up to US$24bn invested with companies such as BNP Paribas and Siemens.
Anderson added: “When you’re looking at the war on terrorists, this is one of the best weapons we have – just defunding them.”
This is the latest in “terror-free” investing, following a growing number of states divesting from Sudan.
The difference is that this legislation would affect foreign companies as US firms are already blocked from investing in countries appearing on the State Department list, such as Iran, Cuba and North Korea.
President of trade group National Foreign Trade Council William Reinsch disagreed with the move, stating: “We’re going to destroy relations with the very countries we need in a united front against Iran.”
Reinsch continued: “The real losers would be a bunch of retired policemen and firefighters.”
CalPERS and CalSTRS have not yet taken a position on the considered measure.
Missouri recently adopted a policy compelling two state trust funds to divest from companies doing business with Iran, Sudan, North Korea and Syria.
Standard Life has increased exposure to risk assets in three out of five funds in its Active Plus and Passive Plus workplace pension ranges.
Some 48% of employers are unaware of the services or help they offer to members of their defined contribution (DC) schemes, according to Aon.
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