HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed a bill providing for state pension systems to divest assets relating to Russia and Belarus.
The Russia and Belarus Divestiture Act says the State Employees’ Retirement System, the Public School Employees’ Retirement System, and the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System must divest any assets of sanctioned Russian or Belarusian companies or governments.
The law also prohibits a public fund from acquiring direct or indirect holdings or alternative investments of scrutinized companies, in Russia or Belarus.
The State Treasurer or a board thereafter, a public fund is also required to “make its best effort to identify all direct holdings, indirect holdings and alternative investments of securities of sanctioned Russian companies, sanctioned Belarusian companies, scrutinized companies, the government of Russia and the government of Belarus.”
In March, the State Employees’ Retirement System’s board voted to divest roughly $7 million of the $40 billion in assets the system reported having at the start of 2022 related to Russia. That exposure amounts to 0.02%.
That same month the board of the $72.5 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System took a similar vote to divest of nearly $300 million directly invested in Russia and Belarus.
In February State Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced that the commonwealth began divesting all of its Russian holdings last week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We went ahead and immediately began divesting our holdings in Russian-based companies.”
The commonwealth initially deprived 31 Russian companies at a value of $2.9 million, which is less than .01 percent of their holdings.
The bill was sponsored by House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin).
Lawmakers in 2010 required the divestment of investments related to Iran and Sudan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report