Arkansas Teachers' Fund Turns Down Divestment Proposal

May 15, 2007 ( - Despite the urging of the Arkansas Legislature, trustees of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ATRS) decided Monday not to divest their interests in companies that operate in Sudan.

The trustees rejected a nonbinding resolution from legislators, which Governor Mike Beebe signed, encouraging such divestment, according to a news report from the Arkansas News Bureau.

Only one company identified as having a continuing interest in Sudan is held by the system and that holding is worth less than $1 million, a relatively small sum for the more than $10-billion fund, according to the news report.

“It’s virtually a non-issue with respect to this portfolio,” executive director Paul Doane said at the board’s investment committee meeting, according to the news report.

The fund also has a holding in Siemens AG, which is voluntarily terminating its interests in Sudan.

The committee will request its non-U.S. managers to avoid making future investments in companies identified as having a significant business interest in Sudan and to eliminate any existing stakes if and when they determine it prudent, Doane said.

The system includes 82, 000 working members who are paid an average salary of $ 32, 230 a year and 25, 500 retired members receiving an average annual retirement benefit of $ 18, 620.