Los Angeles to Withdraw $27M from Sudan-linked Companies

February 15, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The city of Los Angeles will pull out $27 million in retirement fund investments from companies with business ties to Sudan in an effort to protest ongoing violence in the country's Western region of Darfur.
Los Angeles has about $40 billion in employee pension and retirement funds, only $27 million of which is invested in companies that have links to Sudan. The Associated Press reported that the Los Angeles City Employee Retirement System will divest $18 million in holdings; the Police and Fire Pensions will divest $7.5 million, and the Department of Water and Power pension funds will pull out $1.8 million.

The city follows the lead of other pension funds have that vowed to pull their asset backing from companies whose business is thought to support the Sudanese government.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation last year that promised to divest all state funds in companies linked to Darfur (See   Schwarzenegger Signs Sudan Divestment Bills), where so far more than 200,000 people have been killed and some 2.5 million people have fled their homes since 2003, according to the Associated Press.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) voted in May 2006 to bar investments in nine corporations (See  CalPERS Votes to Bar Sudan-related Investments ), following California State Teachers’ Retirement System’ (CalSTRS) promise the month before to dump its $12 million holdings in five companies (See  CalSTRS Approves Sudan Divestment ).

The Idaho legislature is now considering a measure that would force its public employee retirement system to divest $41 million, against the protest of fund officials, who argue that pulling the investments would be too complicated and have little of the expected impact on the conflict there (See Idaho Lawmakers Consider Forcing Pension Funds to Dump Sudan-linked Investments ).

Other states that have already passed mandates requiring divestment in Sudan-related investments include: