Colorado PERA Adopts Iran Divestment Policy

January 23, 2008 ( - Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, state lawmakers, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA) of Colorado announced a new divestment policy against companies that have a significant financial stake in Iran.

According to a governor’s office press release, PERA’s board on Friday voted unanimously in favor of a phased strategy that starts with immediately creating a list of public companies that meet certain criteria, such as having more than $20 million of investments in Iran’s energy sector. If PERA holds a direct public investment in any of those companies, PERA will engage the companies to examine their involvement in Iran.

The findings of that investigation could lead to divestment from those companies, the announcement said. Under the new policy, PERA also will enact a moratorium on any new investments in companies on the list.

PERA staff will provide monthly updates to its board, the governor, and the legislature starting on March 21.

“I commend all stakeholders for coming to the table and reaching agreement on this new policy. This measure will allow PERA to maintain its fiduciary responsibility to its pension-fund members and take an aggressive stance against companies doing business in Iran,” Ritter said in the announcement.

Last year, legislation requiring PERA to divest from companies doing business in Sudan was signed into law by the governor (See Colorado House Passes Sudan Divestment Bill). PERA objected to more divestment legislation, citing cost and fiduciary concerns (See Colorado’s PERA Warns Against Further Divestment Legislation ).