DiNapoli to Divest, Freeze Sudan, Iran-Tied Pension Holdings

June 30, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is divesting $86.2 million in New York State Common Retirement Fund investments from nine companies doing business in Iran and Sudan.

A DiNapoli news release said the agency is also freezing holdings in seven other companies.

The DiNapoli statement said Tuesday’s moves come after a June 2007 risk mitigation program for investments in companies doing business in Sudan (see  NY Comptroller Unveils Three-Phase Divestment Plan ).

The three-phase analysis also included Iran-linked firms:

  • The first phase identified companies the fund invested in that had business operations in Iran and Sudan.
  • The second phase involved requesting complete descriptions and histories of the companies’ business activities in Iran and Sudan; receiving explanations about how these activities are consistent with a sound and prudent long-term investment strategy; and reporting steps taken to mitigate investment risks posed by doing business in Iran and Sudan.
  • Under the final phase, the fund evaluated responses and decided which course of action to pursue, including divestment and continued monitoring.

DiNapoli said the third phase of the risk mitigation program included an evaluation of the companies, including consultation and analyses by economic advisers and review by fiduciary counsel, to make sure any actions taken are consistent with the Comptroller’s fiduciary responsibility to the fund’s members, beneficiaries and retirees.

“Iran is supporting terrorism,” DiNapoli said, in the news release. “It’s trying to become a nuclear power and its president has made public statements that amount to an incitement to commit genocide by calling for the destruction of Israel. Over the past month, we’ve seen just how brutal this regime can be, even toward its own citizens.”

DiNapoli continued: “The genocide in Sudan challenges us as citizens of the world. We can neither be blind to this callous destruction of human life nor silent in its face. At some point we have to ask, can we afford to risk pension fund investments in nations led by these kinds of regimes?”

The New York State Common Retirement Fund is divesting from the following companies that do business in Iran and/or Sudan:

  1. Gazprom
  2. Inpex
  3. Lukoil
  4. Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC)
  5. OMV
  6. Petroleo Brasilia (Petrobras)
  7. Statoil
  8. Wartsila OYJ
  9. Sinopec Corp.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund will monitor and is prohibiting further investments in the following companies that do business in Iran and/or Sudan:

  1. ENI
  2. Repsol YPF
  3. Royal Dutch Shell PLC
  4. Total SA
  5. ABB LTD
  6. Alstom
  7. Snam Rete Gas