MPs’ pension fund drops Russia-related investments in protest | pension industry

Trustees of the parliamentarians’ pension fund have agreed to sell all Russia-related investments after a cross-party group of more than 60 MPs raised concerns about ties to Russian oil and gas companies.

Trustees met last Thursday, after receiving the letter from MPs, and agreed to act immediately to ensure the fund was cleansed of direct and indirect Russian interests.

Labor MP Clive Betts, a board member, said: “Should we divest from Russian interests? Yes, as fast and as far as possible, although we have to do it through our fund managers.

A multitude of international companies ceased or suspended their activities with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Last week, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo bowed to public pressure and suspended operations in Russia. Major public and private pension funds are now under pressure to clean up their portfolios and investigate the link between the funds they have invested in and Russia.

In their letter to the trustees, coordinated by Caroline Lucas of the Green Party, MPs noted that in the fund’s 2020 annual review, HSBC was among the top 20 holdings in the scheme. “According to data from Bloomberg, HSBC, through its asset management arm, owns stakes in five of Russia’s largest oil and gas companies – Gazprom, Rosneft, Tatneft, Lukoil and Novatek,” the authors wrote. deputies.

“HSBC doesn’t just do business with Russian oil and gas companies, it owns them. We therefore call for the immediate withdrawal of the fund’s investments from HSBC and any other company involved in Russia in a similar way.

Fund documents show that around 49% is invested in global equities and 8% in European bonds.

Lucas praised the trustees’ commitment and called for a “thorough investigation so that we can be sure that not a penny of our pension funds is directly or indirectly linked to Putin’s murderous regime”.

Last week the Church of England announced that it had sold the £20million worth of investments in Russian businesses in response to what the Archbishops of Canterbury and York described as “the Vladimir Putin’s ‘evil act’ in Ukraine.

The Local Government Pension Scheme Advisory Board has also asked its members who run schemes for councils across Britain to scrutinize their portfolios for links to Russia.

An HSBC spokesperson said: “In recent days we have suspended our Russian-only funds and further reduced the exposure of other funds where possible. As expected, HSBC is complying with all sanctions. international.

Dolores W. Simon