The $42 billion Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, Boston, must divest its holdings in companies that invest in Iran’s oil industry, under a bill signed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick Wednesday.
Mr. Patrick said in a news release that Massachusetts is “standing up for the right of all people to live in a world free from terrorism.”
The board must hire an independent research firm to identify all such companies in which the public fund has direct or indirect holdings, and then divest from those companies within one year. David Kibbe, a spokesman for state Treasurer Timothy Cahill, said preliminary estimates suggest MassPRIM’s holdings in such companies could amount to just less than $300 million.
The board already is barred from making investments in tobacco-related companies and those doing business with Sudan.
In a separate statement, Mr. Cahill, who is also PRIM board chairman, said while he has always been “cautious when considering divestiture,” he is “proud to support the bill.” He expressed confidence the move won’t slow the growth of the state pension fund.