By Jonathan Stempel
The New York state public pension fund, one of the largest pension funds in the United States, will divest its stakes in Russian companies following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, said State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Friday.
The $279.7 billion divestment by the New York State Joint Retirement Fund, which DiNapoli is overseeing, follows the comptroller’s March 1 decision to halt new investment in Russian companies. DiNapoli estimated at the time that the fund had $110.8 million in public equity investments in Russian companies.
He said the investments would be sold in a “prudent manner and time”, in accordance with his fiduciary duty.
In a statement, DiNapoli said Russia’s “unacceptable and immoral invasion” of Ukraine had made Russia an “unacceptable investment risk” and that Russia’s already weak economy was plunging into a ” economic crisis”.
The California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest US pension fund, halted all trading in listed Russian stocks on March 3 and halted the flow of new investment into the country.
He owned about $765 million in Russian public stocks and illiquid real estate assets at the time, out of about $469 billion in total assets.
The Common Retirement Fund of New York invests on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees, retirees and beneficiaries.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.