CT Pension Funds To Divest Sudan-Linked Investments

June 13, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Connecticut State Treasurer has announced that the state's pension fund will unload its holdings in six international companies with business ties in Sudan.

According to the announcement  by State Treasurer Denise Nappier, the largest divestment of shares is the $11 million that the pension fund holds in China Petroleum and Chemical Corp.

Nappier is also prohibiting direct investment in five other companies that have been accused of providing monetary and military support to the Sudanese government: Bharat Heavy Electricals, Nam Fatt, Oil & Natural Gas Co., PECD Group and Sudan Telecom Co.

“The bottom line has been, and continues to be, to get the best possible investment return that money can buy without bloodshed,” Nappier said in the announcement. “The state’s overall investment portfolio remains well positioned to do just that by achieving solid performance results.”

This position will likely put her at odds with pension experts who say making the best effort to garner the highest investment returns for plan participants is required to meet their fiduciary obligations (See Doing the Right Thing? and Public Pension Fund Divestment: A Fiduciary Risk? ).  

The state’s divestment law authorizes Nappier to consider several factors when determining from which

organizations the state will divest, including:

  • The resources a company provides to the Sudanese government that enable genocide in Darfur or in other regions of Sudan,
  • The revenues paid by a company to the government of Sudan,
  • The extent to which a company engages Sudan to cease the human rights abuses and/orundertakes humanitarian efforts in that country.