Falkirk Council pension fund check reveals ‘miniscule’ Russian investment links

The risk of exposure to Russian investments for Falkirk Council’s pension fund is “miniscule”, members have been assured.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 3:24 pm

Falkirk Council’s pensions committee were told on Thursday that the Fund does not have any direct investments in Russian companies.

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, tough financial sanctions were put in place by the USA, UK and European Union.

Since then, the Fund has been given assurances by its investment managers that they are taking the necessary action to minimise the financial risk to the fund and to comply with the legal restrictions introduced by sanctions.

The check came after the Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Chief finance officer Bryan Smail said: “Committee and board can take comfort that there is not a significant exposure.”

“We have no direct holdings – there are tiny holdings in indices but these have either been written down as worthless or the companies concerned, because of the collapse of their value, drop out the index anyway.”

“There was previously a small holding in Russian bonds by Baillie Gifford but anticipating the direction of travel and risk exposure these were sold in January.”

Mr Smail said they were keeping a close eye on the position with China and there is a recognition that would be very different in terms of investment exposure.

He also warned that the turmoil created by the invasion, particularly in the energy market, could lead to a global recession at a time when economies are already grappling with covid, inflation and rising interest rates.

"At least whilst hostilities continue, asset valuations are likely to be challenged and market volatility heightened,” he said.

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