Protect our Pensions Urges Montgomery County Pension Board to Ignore Non- Binding Divestment Resolution

Recently the Montgomery County Council decided to put ideology above smart investing principles and vote for a resolution calling for the divestment of the county pension fund. The resolution vote follows a failed attempt to force the board to divest at the end of last year.

Protect our Pensions opposed the original bill and also opposed the resolution, stating:

Given that the original bill was deemed simultaneously dangerous to the county’s pension funds and ineffective in its broader purpose,

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Montgomery County Firefighters: Reject Divestment Resolution

Jeffrey Buddle, President of Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 1664, which represents around 1,500 firefighters in Maryland, wrote a strongly worded letter to members of the Montgomery County Council, asking them to reject a divestment resolution, which calls on county pension funds to sell off traditional energy stocks in order to make a political statement.

Asking the critical question, “what purpose does the resolution actually serve?” Mr. Buddle pointed out that the resolution would have no … Read More

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Montgomery County Council Attempts Divestment with Harmful Resolution

After being rebuffed by pension board officials, labor union members, and citizens, the Montgomery County Council decided a few weeks ago to amend a controversial divestment bill into a resolution, which would encourage divestment, rather than mandate it. The Council is still scheduled to vote on that resolution on Tuesday, May 16.

Protect our Pensions has opposed the bill; we have stated:

Given that the original bill was deemed simultaneously dangerous to the county’s pension funds and ineffective in

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California Pension Boards Remain Firmly Committed to Engagement

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) were recognized by the Financial Times for their commitment to corporate engagement in a recent article concerning divestment.

CalPERS recently voted to reject divestment as a preferred tool for social change, arguing that “divesting appears to almost invariably harm investment performance.” Instead the new CalPERS policy “prohibits Divesting in response to Divestment Initiatives, but permits CalPERS to use constructive engagement.”

The divestment campaign to disengage … Read More

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Orange County Register column: California Should Stop “Playing Politics with Pension Funds”

With several divestment bills before the California Legislature, increasingly urgent calls to leave pension funds alone have been reported in the state media. Just recently, Carlos Solorzano, the CEO of The Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco pushed back against divestment bill AB 20, making the case that the legislation will be harmful to businesses in San Francisco and across the state. The editorial board of The Press Democrat, of Santa Rosa, also strongly objected to pensions … Read More

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California Political Leader: Water Infrastructure Should be Top Environmental Concern, Not Divestment

In an op-ed published in the California Political Review, Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker  raised awareness of the fact that in the debate over divestment, other  far more urgent and consequential environmental issues have not received as much scrutiny, even though they should.

Highlighting the fact that there is no consensus around the idea that divestment would actually address environmental challenges, Whitaker cited both CalPERS and Stanford University’s opposition to divestment. CalPERS’ officials called divestment “an ineffective strategy for achieving … Read More

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Montgomery County Should Stop the Divestment Charade

In an effort to save face, Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner has amended a long-debated divestment bill to be a resolution encouraging divestment.

In its original form, the bill faced considerable opposition from a variety of groups.  The Montgomery County Retired Employees Association (MCREA), which represents more than 6,000 retired County workers, submitted comments in December opposing the bill stating that “divestment offers symbolic rather than genuine impact on climate change given the complexity of fossil fuel investments.” … Read More

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Santa Rosa Press Democrat Editorial: CA Legislature Should Reject Divestment Bills

The editorial board of The Press Democrat, of Santa Rosa, California, came out against a trio of divestment bills currently under review by the California State Legislature. The board strongly objected to pensions being used as “a tool for making political statements,” a fact that has been “lost on (…) some state lawmakers.”

At the heart of the editorial board’s argument was the idea that shortfalls in earnings will have to be borne by California’s taxpayers:

The pension funds

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CalPERS Unanimously Votes Against Divestment, Opts for Constructive Engagement

Just as anticipated, the investment committee of the largest public pensions system in the United States formally voted to reject the policy of divestment, opting in favor of using constructive engagement with the companies that the $310 billion fund is invested in.

The new policy boldly dismisses the tactic of divestment, which has been proven to be both ineffective against the targeted companies and damaging to the long-term health of portfolios attempting such a practice. The new policy adopted by … Read More

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CalPERS Set to Vote Against Politically-Motivated Divestment Efforts, Reaffirm Sensible Investing

According to publicly available sources, the nation’s largest state employee pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), is ready to reaffirm its commitment to responsible investing, and approve a “fundwide policy” to oppose divestment, according to E&E News.

CalPERS has worked hard to uphold its reputation as a responsible investor, and the new policy will uphold and name corporate engagement as the “preferred approach”.  As CalPERS Chief Operating Investment Officer Wylie Tollette stated last week when speaking … Read More

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