NYS Comptroller DiNapoli orders divestment of Russian companies, prohibits investment

NYS Comptroller DiNapoli orders divestment of Russian companies, prohibits investment

NYS Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, sole trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, has directed divestment from Russian companies and prohibition of any further investments in them.

DiNapoli said following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Fund would freeze all new investments in Russian companies and review the Fund’s current holdings to assess whether they presented financial risks that warrant further restrictions, including divestment.

“For over a month, Russia’s unconscionable and immoral invasion has brought devastation and destruction to Ukraine,” DiNapoli said.

“Russian President Putin’s violent and unpredictable foreign policy has rightfully brought on substantial sanctions and his war has made Russia an unacceptable investment risk. 

"As Russia’s already weak economy plunges toward economic crisis, we are protecting our state pension fund by divesting our minimal investments there and restricting any further investments in Russian companies.”

Securities covered by the restriction are to be sold in a prudent manner and timeframe, consistent with the Comptroller’s fiduciary duty.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, DiNapoli has written to several U.S. companies, including McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Estee Lauder, and Mondelez, urging them to examine their business in Russia and pause or end their business operations in the country. Many of these companies have since taken action to end or limit their operations in Russia. 

DiNapoli’s investment staff have also contacted the Fund’s external investment managers, urging them to examine their exposure to Russian investments and mitigate this unacceptably high investment risk.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund is one of the largest public pension funds in the United States. 

The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries. 

The Fund has consistently been ranked as one of the best managed and best funded plans in the nation. 

The Fund's fiscal year ends March 31. Its estimated value as of Dec. 31, 2021 was $279.7 billion.