Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Colorado’s Public Employee Retirement System Warns Against Further Divestment Legislation

The Colorado Legislature should resist efforts to impose more divestment on the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association according to a recent vote of the pension fund’s Board.

Colorado state legislators passed a divestment bill in February 2007, which was considered at the time to be one of the most aggressive mandates for Colorado’s pension funds to maintain a list of those companies that either directly or indirectly help the Sudanese government commit genocide.

According to a news release from the Colorado Public Employees' Association (PERA), the specific concerns of further divestment include:

    • Unintended costs such as transaction costs from selling investments, researching replacement investments and the costs of reduced investment returns.
    • Violating the fiduciary duty to invest and expend funds for the exclusive benefit of the plan members and beneficiaries. Meaning financial decisions cannot undermine the funded status of the plan.
    • Divestment of companies with significant operations in the U.S. and even Colorado could hurt U.S. jobs.
    • A divestment could result in a "slippery slope" that makes differentiation among the remaining issues contentious and divisive."
    • The retirement association does not have the authority to determine social policy, foreign policy, or any other policy beyond the operation of the retirement system.

No comments: