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New York City Employees pension fund divests from gun manufacturers

John Liu
New York City Comptroller John C. Liu

New York City Employees' Retirement System has divested all of its $16.2 million in equity shares of publicly traded gun and ammunition manufacturers, according to a statement Wednesday from John C. Liu, city comptroller, who oversees the $45.7 billion pension fund.

The pension fund divested from its holdings of Alliant Techsystems Inc., Forjas Taurus SA., Olin Corp., Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm Ruger & Co.

Callan Associates, NYCERS' investment consultant, assisted with the analysis of the firearms industry and holdings.

“The analysis found that divestment of those holdings would be consistent with the (NYCERS) board's fiduciary duties,” the statement said.

NYCERS trustees took the action in response to “the prevalence of gun violence in the nation's towns and cities,” including the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., in December, the statement said.

“Our city's employees do not want their pension dollars supporting companies whose products tear apart families and shatter communities,” Mr. Liu said in the statement. “Our funds are exposed to financial and reputational risk with these investments. Removing our money lets the public and these companies know that we are determined to take whatever steps we can to stop the scourge of gun violence.”

NYCERS' sale of its holdings in gun and ammunition makers follows the divestment announced in February by the $46.6 billion New York City Teachers' Retirement System, which owned shares valued at a combined $13.5 million in the same five companies.