Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System, Oklahoma City, is soliciting proposals for mandates now run by BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors, two of the 13 financial firms that have been blacklisted by Oklahoma State Treasurer Todd Russ for allegedly boycotting energy companies.
The combined mandates represent about 64.7% of OPERS' systemwide defined benefit plan assets, or $6.8 billion, as of May 31, said Joe Fox, OPERS' executive director, in an email.
Under Oklahoma's Energy Discrimination Elimination Act of 2022, Oklahoma public pension funds must terminate contracts with the blacklisted firms unless they take a fiduciary exemption from the divestment mandate.
While OPERS' investment committee has recommended that the board take the fiduciary exemption permitted under the law, the board has yet to take a position and is seeking proposals to gather more information in order to prepare for potential divestment, if necessary, Mr. Fox said.
The mandates cover both the $10.7 billion OPERS as well as the $366 million Uniform Retirement System for Justices & Judges.
One RFP seeks advisory services relating to the passive index exposure of certain asset classes and mandates in which OPERS and URSJJ are invested, including U.S. equity, non-U.S. equity and fixed-income totaling $4.9 billion and managed by BlackRock, according to public meeting documents.
Another RFP seeks advisory services relating to OPERS' and URSJJ's exposure to U.S. constrained core fixed income managed by BlackRock, which as of May 31 totaled $1.7 billion.
A third RFP is for advisory services related to OPERS' U.S. large-cap equity enhanced index exposure totaling $621 million as of May 31 and managed by SSGA.
Interested managers cannot be on Mr. Russ' restricted financial company list.
The RFPs are available on the pension fund's website. Proposals are due by 4:30 p.m. CDT on Aug 11. A hiring decision and estimated contract start date have yet to be determined.
BlackRock did not respond to an email seeking comment. SSGA declined to comment.