South Dakota Investment Council reveals no Russian investments in state managed portfolios

South Dakota Investment Council reveals no Russian Investments in state-managed portfolios
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 2:09 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -While the State of Colorado is pulling a 7 million dollar investment in a Russian bank, and North Dakota is divesting nearly 16 million dollars in Russian funds, South Dakota’s investments are in a much better position.

When Sanctions were announced in February, many companies and investment firms started looking through portfolios.

The South Dakota Investment Council oversees seven different funds, including the South Dakota Retirement System, the state cash flow fund, and the Education Enhancement Trust Fund.

Our sources indicate that South Dakota does not buy or hold any individual stocks or investments in Russia. This was confirmed by Governor Noem’s office.

Before the invasion of Ukraine, the only connecting thread to a Russian investment was through a Vanguard fund, which has since divested the funds.

Selling the Russian stocks could be difficult, as trading stopped on February 28th.

Eric Ollila, who represents South Dakota employees credits those managing investments for the good financial standing.

“There aren’t many certainties in life, but two things the South Dakota State Employees Organization always counts on are the superior knowledge, expertise, and moral code of the South Dakota Investment Council and its employees and Board, and of the South Dakota Retirement System and its employees and Board, both under the direction of Matt Clarke. The fact that we’re not taking direct financial risks on sketchy international regimes is evidence of more good practice and policy in action,” said Olilla.

The uncertain connection between Russian money and our state lies in the private sector. The Pandora papers, a grouping of leaked documents revealing who has funds in Trust Companies, allege South Dakota helped lead the movement to create long-term trusts, back in the 80′s. Assets from over 50 countries are to be passed down for generations with little or nothing in tax obligations. The Trust Companies are not obligated to divulge investment details to the public.

Two decades ago, the US was encouraging investments in Russia. A report from the Government accountability office indicated. As of March 2000, The United States established enterprise fund had invested $114.4 million in 30 business projects in Russia.

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