LANCING, MICHIGAN (WLNS) – A unanimous vote by the Michigan Investment Council to remove Michigan Pension Systems (SMRS) pension plans from Russian and Belarusian companies.
The decision came after a March 1 letter from Governor Gretchen Whitmer calling for the abolition of any investment in any Russian company.
The abandonment of Russian companies should begin “as soon as market conditions allow,” the Michigan Treasury Department said.
The SMRS plans are aimed at providing benefits to current and retired government officials and others who have worked for the benefit of Michigan.
“Today, the council decided it was more than the right thing to do,” said Treasurer Rachel Ubenks, who chairs the Michigan Investment Council. “We have ordered the investment group to start the nomination process. Any state assets that could be used to support and prolong Russia’s war against Ukraine run counter to the purpose of providing benefits to those who dedicate their professional lives to public service. “
According to the Michigan Treasury Department, about 0.06% of state pension assets are related to Russian institutions and organizations.
There are no Belarusian holdings in the state portfolio.
Russian holdings are managed by external investment managers and mainly invest in low-cost international stock index funds.
Index funds are the direct owners of Russian securities.
Official letters from SMRS will be sent to all relevant investment managers requesting the prompt redemption of any Russian investment.
“The world watched in horror as President Vladimir Putin launched an illegal and destructive war against the people of Ukraine,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “The actions taken today by Treasurer Ubenx and the Michigan Investment Council are a signal to the world that Michigan is firmly in solidarity with Ukraine. Thanks to Treasurer Ubenks for this important step today. “