Kentucky teachers’ pension system says it sold Russian bank stocks

Reports that the Kentucky Teachers’ Pension System is a major shareholder in Russia’s largest bank are “completely untrue,” the system’s attorney said on Friday.

At the end of 2021, the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System was listed as the second largest shareholder in Sberbank of Russiawhose stock prices plummet amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Beau Barnes, general counsel for TRS, said Friday that TRS sold its shares late last month, losing $3.2 million on its initial investment of $15.6 million.

The sale was not mentioned when the Courier Journal asked about TRS’ Russian investments earlier this week.

“TRS’s remaining exposure to holdings in Russia is proportionately negligible in a portfolio of approximately $26 billion,” Barnes said in a statement Friday.

About $30 million of TRS’s $26 billion investment portfolio — about 0.12% — is in Russian investments, Barnes previously said.

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About 0.05% of the TRS portfolio is specifically held by Russian banks, including Sberbank. At the end of 2021, their Sberbank shares were valued at around $13.6 million.

All of TRS’s Russian investments are through its international managers, Barnes said. It has no internally managed Russian investments.

The Kentucky Public Pension Authority holds about $51 million in Russian investments, a spokeswoman for the state treasurer’s office said. The funds, which represent about 0.23% of its $22 billion overall portfolio, include both directly and indirectly managed investments.

Other states have recently withdrawn from Russian assets due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this week, Connecticut withdrawn more than $218 million from Russian corporate pension funds.

Before TRS said the shares had been sold, U.S. Representative Thomas Massie, a Republican who represents Northern Kentucky, called TRS’s investment “unfortunate.”

“The Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System was the second largest US ‘institutional’ holder of Sberbank or Russia. Obviously part of a much larger portfolio, but still unfortunate and notable,” Massie tweeted on Friday. morning.

Earlier this week, Massie was one of three representatives to vote against a House resolution supporting Ukrainian sovereignty and calling for an immediate ceasefire.

This story can be updated.

Contact Olivia Krauth at [email protected] and on Twitter at @oliviakrauth.

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