Missouri State Employees' Retirement System, Jefferson City, voted to screen investments for ties to terrorism, according to a posting on Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman's website at www.treasurer.mo.gov. The posting said the board of trustees of the $6.2 billion pension fund voted unanimously to adopt the policy change last week.
As part of the new screening process, system officials would compare the fund's direct investments with federal listings of companies and countries that have ties to terrorism. Plan officials would also use independent research firms that track activities of foreign companies. The system's outside money managers would also have to include terrorism screening as part of their due diligence background review of all investments and would have to disclose to the pension fund any risk that terrorism places on their portfolios. The new policy would directly prohibit any investments identified through the terrorism screening process.
Mark Hughes, a spokesman for the state treasurer's office, said MoSERS staff will likely provide the board of trustees with a policy proposal in September. The board would then have to decide whether MoSERS staff will implement the screening process or whether the retirement system will search for an outside firm. Mr. Hughes said the end of the year was a "reasonable estimate" for when the policy could be in place.
Gary Findlay, executive director of the fund, did not reply to an e-mail by press time seeking comment. Rick Dahl, CIO, did not return calls by press time.