By David G. Barry
Russia’s attack of Ukraine has led numerous public pension funds to move to divest of their Russian holdings. This, however, has proven easier said than done – especially with the Russian stock market closed. What has happened in many cases is that pension funds – whether they’ve been forced to divest or not – have seen their holdings in the country dramatically decline.
A case, in point is the Massachusetts Pension Reserve Investment Management (PRIM) .
Speaking to the PRIM board, Chief Investment Officer Michael Trotsky said the $101 billion pension fund’s Russian assets – a combination of stock and debt – were valued at $250 million prior to the invasion. The value of those assets then dropped to $140 million after the invasion. With the Russian stock market closed, getting an accurate read on valuation is difficult, but Trotsky said the fund now values them at $9.6 million, or what he described as essentially a “write off.”
The pension fund will not be under pressure to sell the assets. Republicans in the state’s House of
Representatives had attempted to pass a measure that have given state Treasurer
Deb Goldberg the authority to divest the pension fund’s Russian assets.
It, however, failed last month. Goldberg, who had said she supported
divestment, needs authorization from the state legislature and Gov. Charlie
Baker to make such a move.