Barclays Global Investors launched Sudan-free equity index strategies to help U.S. public pension plans and other institutional investors comply with restrictions on investing in companies that have business ties with the country, according to a BGI statement.
The strategies will track the S&P 500, Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 and Russell 1000, 2000 and 3000 indexes, as well as the MSCI EAFE and its emerging markets indexes, said Amy Schioldager, managing director, responsible for U.S. equity indexing products.
Legislation calling for Sudan divestment was adopted in Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon, and similar laws are being proposed in California, Connecticut, Indiana, Missouri, Washington, New York and Ohio, the statement noted. Several clients have already expressed interest in the Sudan-free equity strategies, Ms. Schioldager said.
BGI is using KLD Research & Analytics to screen for Sudan-connected companies. "The initial plan is to start with KLD because they are accepted already (in the market) for their screen," Ms. Schioldager said. Institutional Shareholder Services is "the other (research screening firm) we looked at and would consider using."
BGI may also develop fixed-income strategies that would exclude bonds of issuers with ties to Sudan, as well as Sudan-free enhanced equity strategies, although there is no timetable for introduction, Ms. Schioldager added.