State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Madison, would be required to divest Sudan-related investments from its $90 billion in assets under a bill introduced Wednesday in the state Legislature. The bill would require the fund to identify companies and divest all the holdings within 15 months of the identification.
Fund officials oppose divestment, contending that "it conflicts with SWIB's fiduciary responsibility to invest every dollar solely in the best interests of the trust funds," according to a statement by the fund.
At the same time, "while SWIB can not make investments based on social or political objectives, it does consider the economic effects of social and humanitarian issues in the analysis of investments," a statement from the fund said.
"SWIB's guidelines prohibit direct investment in Sudanese companies and bonds, as SWIB similarly prohibits direct investment in other countries where the rule of law, civil liberties and other standards are not adequate to protect its investments," the statement said. "SWIB requires its investment managers to annually certify that they are in compliance with" a "state administrative rule, which has the force of law," requiring SWIB to "seek investments in organizations which respect basic human rights ... because such conduct is conducive to long-run success."