SERS Board Cuts All Financial Ties with Russia

Rep. Frankel says the move was both morally right and financially necessary

HARRISBURG, March 4 -- The board of Pennsylvania’s State Employees Retirement System unanimously agreed this morning to divest from any assets connected to Russia or Belarus.

Rep. Dan Frankel, who represents the House Democratic Caucus on the SERS board, requested the change as both a statement against the brutal actions of a reckless regime and as a move to insulate the pension system against instability.

“Our democratic ideals and our fiduciary duty aligned, making our path clear,” Frankel said. “Russia’s actions represent an existential threat around the globe, and I’m proud to use whatever tools we have to stand against them.”

The divestment motion covers approximately $20 million of Russian stocks as part of international index investing and approximately $1.68 million in private equity investments.

While SERS currently has no financial exposure to Belarus, the divestment resolution prohibits any future investments in that country, or other countries that support of Russia’s military invasion of the independent country of Ukraine.

The board also voted to notify investment partners and advisors that future investments in these countries will not be considered.

“Even though our dollar amount is relatively low, this action sends a message to all of our investment partners, some who may have hundreds of billions of dollars of other investments, that Russia’s violent invasion and threat of nuclear weapons threaten all of us,” Frankel said.

The system's move to divest completes the trifecta in the Commonwealth's rapid movement on this issue, following the Office of the State Treasurer's divestment last week and the Public School Employees' Retirement System fund move yesterday.

SERS manages the pension benefits and otherwise serves the retirement needs of approximately 238,000 employees and retirees, and their families, throughout Pennsylvania and beyond. Its members and annuitants consist of law enforcement personnel, corrections officers, firefighters, nurses, university professors, transportation workers, healthcare providers, and thousands more proud and patriotic citizens serving communities across the commonwealth.