FL Pension Funds Join the Divestment Bandwagon

June 9, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Florida Governor Charlie Crist intends to sign legislation that would bar the state pension funds from making investments in companies with business ties to the Iran's petroleum sector or the Sudanese government.

The Protecting Florida’s Investments Act orders state pension fund managers, who have $150 billion in assets to handle, to review holdings. Then those companies they find doing business with Sudan or Iran’s petroleum sector would be asked by the state to stop, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel news report.

If the state request isn’t honored, the pension funds would divest those investments.

“Although Florida is just one state, I think that we’re going to be setting an example for other states to follow suit. And yes, it’s $1 billion in our $150 billion pension fund, but when that is coupled with all of these states that may be looking at similar legislation, it could have a real effect in stopping these terror regimes,” said state Rep. Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs.

The proposal to ban Sudan-linked investments was ushered through the Florida Legislature by Broward and Palm Beach county legislators, according to the news report.The Iran provision was pushed by the national organization American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the South Florida sponsors said they were concerned about Iran’s threat to Israel.

Ohio lawmakers also made the call this week to force its pension funds to dump its Sudan and Iran-linked investments (See Ohio Pension Funds to Dump Shares in Iran and Sudan-linked Companies).