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March 4, 2022updated 23 Mar 2022 1:08pm

Australia asks pension funds to reassess holdings in Russian assets

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict


The Australian government has called on pension funds in the country to review their investment portfolios and offload holding in Russian assets, reported Reuters.

Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has attracted strident sanctions from the US and its allies, causing a number of companies across all sectors to halt their operations or offload their assets.

The government of Australia said it is important to send a ‘clear and unequivocal signal’ that it condemns Russia’s ‘unprovoked and unjustified attack’ on Ukraine in the strongest possible terms, the report said.

Russian assets are said to make up a small portion of the country’s $2.56trn (A$3.5trn) retirement fund asset pool.

The government said in a statement: “The Australian Government reiterates our staunch support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the people of Ukraine.”

In a separate statement, Australia’s banking regulator informed that it would not take any action against trustees who wants to divest Russian assets.

Meanwhile, the country’s A$204bn sovereign wealth fund said last week it planned to cut its exposure to companies listed in the Russian Stock Exchange.

The Future Fund, which invests in global equities, debt, currency and infrastructure markets, had about 0.1% of its holdings in Russian-listed companies, according to a separate report by Reuters.

Last week, NorwayPrime Minister Jonas Store said that the country is planning to freeze Russian assets in its $1.3trn sovereign wealth fund and offload them in due course.

According to the country’s finance minister Trygve Vedum, Norges Bank Investment Management had about $2.8bn (NOK25bn) in Russian assets at the end of the year.

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