Moscow City – view of skyscrapers at Moscow International Business Center. (Photo: Shutterstock)
(Bloomberg) – A debate is raging inside the California Public Employees’ Retirement System over whether it should quickly exit its Russia investments — at a hefty cost. In the past week, staffers at the largest U.S. public pension discussed the possibility of dumping the holdings, a decision that would ultimately require the board’s approval. That followed California Governor Gavin Newsom’s call for state pensions to cut off money to Russia following its invasion of Ukraine — and to send a message to the world that the country is uninvestable.
Then came the price tag: Calpers would have to mark down its entire portfolio of publicly traded Russian investments — recently valued at roughly $300 million — to zero. Some senior managers reckoned the investments would be worthless if they tagged them for hasty disposal amid stiff sanctions and swooning prices for Russian assets, according to a person familiar with the matter.