Pennsylvania Pension Funds to Divest Russian Assets

Public School Employees’ Retirement System

This Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006 file photo shows the Public School Employees' Retirement System logo in Harrisburg, near the main entrance their headquarters. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By The Keystone Staff

March 6, 2022

The Public School Employees’ Retirement system and the State Employees’ Retirement System voted recently to divest a combined $307 million in Russian and Belarusian assets.

HARRISBURG — Two of Pennsylvania pension funds will begin to sell off their investments in Russia and Belarus in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Belarus has been a key ally to Russia in its attack on Ukraine.

The board of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System, one of the nation’s largest public pension funds, voted on Thursday to divest its Russian and Belarusian assets and to prohibit future investments in the two countries until the board votes to change the policy. The Associated Press reported that the pension fund had about $300 million — less than one-half of 1% of the fund’s total $72.5 billion in assets — invested in Russia and Belarus.

The board of the State Employees’ Retirement System voted on Friday to divest its Russian-related and Belarusian-related assets. The board reported that it had $7 million — roughly 0.02% of its total $36 billion in assets — invested in Russia and Belarus.

In a written statement, board chairperson David Fillman cited “heightened volatility, risk and potential for losses resulting from exposure to Russia-related investments” and expressed sympathy for Ukrainians.

Governors and lawmakers across the US have been taking actions to pull state investments from Russian companies, while encouraging private entities to do the same.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf and Treasurer Stacy Garrity called on the pension funds to divest, while lawmakers began drafting legislation to require it.

The state treasury began selling off the $2.9 million it had invested in Russian companies at the end of February. Officials told the AP on Thursday that the treasury had sold off as much as it could.


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