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Politics & Government

Pennsylvania school pension board to discuss Russian assets

psers pennsylvania state school employees retirement system fund.jpeg
Tim Tai
/
Philadelphia Inquirer
The FBI and federal prosecutors launched a criminal probe of the PSERS plan in March after the fund’s board revealed doubts about the figure it endorsed for financial results in December.

With some top state officials calling for divestments of Russia-related holdings, officials at Pennsylvania's biggest public pension system said Tuesday that the board will discuss the matter next week.

The $72.5 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System said it had under $300 million directly invested in Russian and Belarus investments, or less than one-half of 1% of the fund's total assets.

Belarus has been a key ally of Russia in its attack on Ukraine.

In a statement, system chairman Christopher Santa Maria said the board plans to discuss those holdings at its next meeting, March 11. Santa Maria said Monday that he is interested in reducing, if not eliminating, any exposure the fund has to Russian-related assets.

Governors and lawmakers in numerous U.S. states have been taking actions to pull state investments from Russian companies, while encouraging private entities to do the same.

In Pennsylvania, lawmakers want to require the state Treasury Department and the state’s three public pension funds to divest Russia-related holdings.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity, a Republican, is urging the state’s public pension systems to divest such holdings to the greatest extent possible. Her agency also said it was selling off $2.9 million it had invested in Russian companies.

The State Employees’ Retirement System, which reported almost $36 billion in assets to start 2021, said the fund’s exposure to Russia-related investments amounts to a fraction of 1%.

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