NH Retirement Systems Must Divest Sudan-related Holdings

July 17, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Under a bill signed into law by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, the state retirement system board of trustees and the judicial retirement plan board of trustees must divest assets relating to Sudan.

As with similar legislation passed in other states, the New Hampshire mandate requires the funds to immediately determine what investments it has in Sudan-related companies. The funds will then send these companies letters telling them of the possible divestiture and asking them to clarify any Sudan-related activities.

If after 90 days a company has not ceased “scrutinized active business operations” the public funds must sell, redeem, divest, or withdraw all publicly-traded securities of the company according to a schedule: 50% by nine months and 100% by 15 months. The legislation also says that at no time shall the funds acquire securities of companies on the scrutinized list.

According to the bill text, the requirements do not apply to indirect holdings in actively-managed investment funds, but the retirement systems will submit letters to fund managers requesting that they consider removing any Sudan-related holdings.

The retirement funds are required to report annually their list of scrutinized companies and actions taken.

The law was effective July 1. Text of the legislation is here .

In January President Bush signed legislation that makes it easier for mutual funds and private pension funds to sell their investments in companies doing business with Sudan (See Bush Signs Sudan Divestment Bill into Law). The measure permits U.S. state and local governments, as well as mutual funds and private pension funds, to divest their investments in companies involved in four Sudanese business sectors – oil industry, mineral extraction, power production, and the production of military equipment.