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Russian-based investments removed from Welsh public sector pension fund

16 Mar 2022 2 minutes Read
Moscow. Photo by serbuxarev from Pixabay

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

Russian-based investments are being removed from a Welsh public sector pension fund worth billions of pounds, a councillor has confirmed.

The Wales Pension Partnership (WPP) pools together assets from eight local Government pension funds and had a market value of just under £11.4 billion at the end of 2021.

Divest

Swansea councillor Clive Lloyd, who chairs a governance committee overseeing its work, said earlier this month that all parties involved in the WPP had decided to divest from Russian investments as soon as possible.

Speaking on March 15 – this time to Swansea’s pension fund committee – Cllr Lloyd thanked officers in Swansea their swift work in moving this forward.

He said: “I think all members of this committee will agree with me in absolutely condemning the invasion of Ukraine and what’s unfolded in front of us.”

Cllr Lloyd said people generally were trying to do their best and provide whatever aid was needed, and that the Swansea pension fund was no different.

He said he had contacted the leader of Swansea Council, Rob Stewart, and that Cllr Stewart had said the divestment was something that definitely should be explored.

“I hope I have the support of the committee in making that decision,” said Cllr Lloyd.

“Most of our investments, if not all, are via the WPP pool, and I think cumulatively across Wales it amounts to less than 1%.”

Committee member and councillor Philip Downing congratulated Cllr Lloyd and officers for their rapid response.

He said: “I agree with everything you said.”

At a budget meeting on March 3, Cllr Stewart said Swansea had links with the Ukrainian city of Rivne dating back to the 1990s.

After the budget was set, councillors gave their full backing to a notice of motion deploring the “unacceptable aggression” of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.


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