Thursday, May 19, 2011

CalPERS divests from Iran

CalPERS, the country's largest public pension fund with $236 billion in market assets is selling all its stock in companies that operate in Iran and Sudan. CalPERS provides retirement benefits to more than 1.6 million State, public school, and local public agency employees, retirees, and their families, and health benefits to nearly 1.3 million members.

On May 16 , The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) announced that it is fully complying with state divestment laws passed in 2006 and 2007. From their press release

"Responding to the impact of federal and international sanctions, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) today adopted a plan to divest shares of the remaining public companies operating in specific segments of the Iran and Sudan economies. New investments in these companies would be blocked as well.

Strong sanctions adopted in 2010 by the federal government, the United Nations and European Union prompted the withdrawal of several large multi-national oil and energy companies from Iran and Sudan.

CalPERS once had up to $2 billion invested in 47 companies in the two countries, both targets of California State divestment laws enacted in 2006 and 2007. Today, CalPERS owns shares valued at approximately $160 million in only eight companies that fall within the parameters of the State’s Iran and Sudan divestment acts."

Iran and Sudan are subject to U.S. economic sanctions. Iran has been identified as a state sponsor of terrorism, and Sudan has been cited for genocidal acts against the inhabitants of Darfur.

"The cost of continuing to hold the stock of these eight companies is greater than the value of divesting them," CalPERS board President Rob Feckner said. "Consistent with our fiduciary duty as trustees, we're taking this step in the best interest of the fund."


Incidently, this is the same pension fund Team Hate is attempting to influence to divest from the only democracy in the Middle east. After over 6 weeks of effort, they have 650 signatories on their petition- the vast majority not even invested with CalPers.

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