Philadelphia Controller: Dump Pension Fund's Sudan-Related Holdings

April 26, 2006 ( - Philadelphia may be next in line to pull the money of its retirement fund away from firms doing business with companies in Sudan if the city's controller, Alan Butkovitz, gets his way.

The controller, who sits on the board that oversees the $4.2 billion retirement fund, is pushing to divest all holdings in firms that do business with the African nation of Sudan, according to a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Arab-controlled government of the African nation has been accused by the US and others of genocide against the country’s western region of Darfur.

Butkovitz said his initial research had identified roughly $66 million invested in companies that have operations in Sudan. He said the firms included Alcatel, Siemens and Hyundai.

If Butkovitz is successful in his push to dump all the retirement fund’s holdings in the region, it will be the latest in a line of others that have pulled money out of Sudan in protest of the widespread killing there. One of the more recent to make this move was the University of California which withdrew tens of millions from foreign firms doing business there(see  UC Regents Approve Sudan Divestment Program ).

Some state legislators have recently barred pension funds from doing business with companies in the African country, with Illinois (see Illinois Measure Bars Sudan Investments ) and New Jersey (see  New Jersey Assembly Bans State Investment in Sudan ) taking the step.