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CalPERS Shortens Period to Review Tobacco Divestments

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s (CalPERS) Board of Administration (Board) today reaffirmed its decision to review the System’s tobacco divestments, and shortened the time period for review to six to nine months.

The item, considered at the April meeting, returned to the May Investment Committee agenda for further consideration following a request from State Treasurer John Chiang.

"We will now move forward with a review of tobacco and the tobacco industry, and consider data, studies, and stakeholder feedback to make a thoughtful and responsible decision," said Henry Jones, CalPERS Board Vice President and Investment Committee Chair. "Our action today is not a decision to reinvest in tobacco. Rather, it is nothing more than a decision to move forward with a review of the issue, consistent with our fiduciary obligation to our members and contracting employers."

The Board originally decided in April to spend 12 to 24 months examining the issue.

CalPERS staff will continue to develop a new loss threshold policy for all non-tobacco divestments. Such a policy would include a provision that would trigger an automatic review of divested assets when losses incurred as a result of the divestment reach a certain amount. The policy will call for staff to inform the Board in open session when a loss threshold is triggered. Staff anticipates bringing a draft of this policy to the Board this summer.

A decision on whether or not to include tobacco in the CalPERS portfolio would follow the review, and likely occur in early 2017.

Next Finance , May 2016

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