N.C. Pension Fund Adopts Iran Divestment Policy

July 20, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced a policy for the North Carolina pension fund that prohibits investments in companies that directly support Iran’s military or energy sector.

The fund joins the federal government and more than 20 other state and local pension funds in ensuring their investments do not support Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the announcement said.  

Within 120 days, the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer will work to identify all companies in which it has direct holdings that currently support Iran’s military or energy sectors. Support of Iran is defined as having a tie to Iran’s military or investing at least $20 million in oil-related activities in Iran in any 12-month period since August 5, 1996.

The pension fund will send a written notice informing these companies that they are subject to divestment. The notice will offer them the opportunity to clarify their Iran-related activities and encourage them to cease these activities within 90 days.

If these companies continue their support of Iran, the pension fund will withdraw all actively managed publicly traded securities of the companies within 15 months.

“Iran’s development of unconventional weapons and its support for international terrorism present a serious threat to the United States and its allies,” Cowell said. “In addition, its activities threaten to destabilize international markets, negatively affecting more than $34 billion the pension fund currently has invested in public equity. The fund will not invest with any company that supports Iran’s efforts to undermine global security.”