September 25, 2023

State pension system nearly divested from many Chinese investments, as required by new law

Article origination IPB News
A new, bipartisan state law required the Indiana Public Retirement System to divest from investments controlled by the Chinese government or companies that do military or intelligence work for that country.  - Brandon Smith/IPB News

A new, bipartisan state law required the Indiana Public Retirement System to divest from investments controlled by the Chinese government or companies that do military or intelligence work for that country.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana’s public pension system is almost done pulling its money from Chinese investments, as ordered by a new law that took effect earlier this year.

State lawmakers unanimously backed the plan, SEA 268, to divest from investments controlled by the Chinese government or companies that do military or intelligence work for that country.

The Indiana Public Retirement System, or INPRS, had $1.2 billion tied up with Chinese investments. A little less than half fell under the new legislative ban and through July, the state has pulled out of about 92 percent of those investments. That’s well ahead of the schedule required by the law.

There’s a second new law that affects INPRS, HEA 1008: the so-called “anti-ESG” bill. That measure requires the state pension system to avoid investing with firms that have ESG policies, which consider the environmental or social impacts of their investments — but only if that’s in the best financial interest of the pension system.

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INPRS Executive Director Steve Russo said the law really just adds another bureaucratic layer, requiring INPRS to justify why it’s investing its dollars if there are ESG policies involved.

“I would say the cost of the existing bill is just that incremental administrative cost, that I would peg not in the billions and not in the millions, but maybe $100,000-ish,” Russo said.

Russo said the state is still developing procedures for identifying companies with ESG policies.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Copyright 2023 IPB News. To see more, visit IPB News.

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