Vermont Pension Investment Committee’s subcommittee on divestment hired Pension Consulting Alliance as a project consultant to assist in conducting a divestment impact study for the $3.6 billion Vermont State Retirement Systems, recently released subcommittee minutes said.
The subcommittee was formed earlier this year after Gov. Peter Shumlin requested that the Montpelier-based VPIC, which oversees investments of the state retirement systems, consider divesting from fossil fuels. It made the selection at its Monday meeting following an invitation-only search for a firm to assist NEPC, investment consultant to the VPIC, in conducting the divestment impact study.
The VPIC originally had voted against fossil-fuel divestment at a meeting last July, citing inconsistencies in such an action with its environmental, social and governance policy.
Mr. Shumlin originally called for the VPIC to divest from fossil fuels in his State of the State address Jan. 7. Beth Pearce, the Vermont state treasurer who oversees the VPIC, said in a later statement that she shared the governor's climate-change concerns, but believed “divestment is not the appropriate strategy for our fund and is counter to our fiduciary responsibilities to the fund and its beneficiaries.”
Mr.. Shumlin attended a VPIC meeting on Feb. 23; the divestment subcommittee was formed at that time.
The full VPIC is scheduled to review the ESG policy at its Aug. 23 meeting, as well as hear presentations from three of the committee’s money managers to discuss ESG issues and climate change.
Matt Considine, the VPIC’s director of investments, did not reply to a request for further information by press time.