Maryland Pension Fund Divests Shell Holdings over Iran Activities

December 17, 2009 ( – The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System has sold off more than one million common shares and $3.5 million in bonds issued by Royal Dutch Shell, PLC and its affiliates.

A news release from the fund said the action was driven by the company’s business activities in Iran.

The action was taken in accordance with a state law enacted last year, the 2008 Divestiture from Iran and Sudan Act, requiring the Board of Trustees of the Retirement System to determine the extent to which system funds are invested in companies doing business in Iran or Sudan. If the company has no plan for ending its operations in Iran or Sudan, the system must divest if the Board of Trustees determines that a specific divestment is consistent with its fiduciary responsibilities, according to the news release.

“The Board of Trustees of the Retirement System has taken action to comply with State law,” State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, chair of the Board of Trustees, said in the announcement.