US - TIAA-CREF has sold its stake in four Asian oil and gas firms with business operations in Sudan.
The pension provider, which has more than US$402bn in assets under management, sold its holdings in PetroChina, CNPC Hong Kong, Sinopec and India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) across all its funds and accounts on December 31, 2009.
The decision came after the firm, one of the largest pension funds in the US, said it had failed in its three-year effort to encourage the companies to end their ties with the Sudanese government, widely accused of human rights violations
None of the targeted companies were immediately available for comment.
The move comes after TIAA-CREF announced last March an escalated phase in its campaign to engage with companies with links to Sudan, threatening to cut its ties with those that refused to acknowledge its concerns.
Kuala Lumpur-based oil firm Petronas was the only firm under scrutiny that met the requirements set by TIAA-CREF.
"We have not divested from Petronas, which has acknowledged our concerns and engaged in dialogue about how it might address them," TIAA-CREF chef executive Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. said.
TIAA-CREF's decision comes as a number of US states, including Indiana and Florida, passed laws requiring public pension schemes to sell stakes in companies with ties to countries that are considered an international security risk. (Global Pensions; October 30, 2009)
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