Monthly Archives: August 2016

A New “Divestment” Threatens the Outcome of Pension Funds

A new fad in investment decisions is making waves in the financial services industry. So-called ethical investments, or the act of solely investing in companies that have ethical standards the investor approves of, is the new action campaigned by those seeking social change. The problem is, no matter how you dress it up, ethical investments still have the negative financial repercussions as divestment.

Board members of pension funds and university endowments have a fiduciary responsibility to their respective fund and … Read More

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Divestment Spills into Vermont’s Primary Election

In Vermont, the subject of divestment has long been a hot topic issue and matter of debate for treasury and state pension officials. The dispute finally boiled over into the August primary election as incumbent State Treasurer Beth Pearce, a vocal opponent of divestment, ran against a new face, Richard Dunne, who focused on a pro-divestment campaign. Fortunately, Vermont’s citizens recognized the wisdom and responsibility of Pearce’s message and granted her another opportunity to serve the state in November’s election.… Read More

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A New School Year of Awareness

Being an educator and advocate of financial awareness, I was encouraged to read a recent article written by a student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. on the negative repercussions that divestment could have on university endowments.

Published in the student newspaper, GW Hatchet, this article calls for a thorough look at divestment action and how it could impact the future of the university’s funding. Specifically, the author, Kendrick Baker, points out that GW cannot afford to ignore … Read More

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A Reminder: Divestment is not the Answer

Institutions that are considering removal of certain stocks and investments from their portfolio need to reconsider this politicized approach to accomplishing a social agenda. In California, especially, the insurance companies are feeling pressure from the state-elected insurance commissioner who has asked for companies to “voluntarily” divest from a certain industry. However divestment is not the right answer to achieving these politicized social whims and ultimately harm the benefactors of the portfolio.

Whether it’s universities and colleges, city boards, or … Read More

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Vermont’s Treasury Race Heats Up

In Vermont, a race for Treasurer has the possibility of political repercussions on the state’s and retirees’ finances. This year incumbent State Treasurer Beth Pearce is faced with a challenger, financial analyst Richard Dunne, who may not have the experience or forethought to see the challenges of certain financial choices.

One key issue that has these two candidates at odds is divestment. Pearce, who has overly 30 years of experience in the financial field, agrees that investment choices should be … Read More

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School Boards Not Thinking of the Real Costs of Divestment

In a backwards effort to enact social change, the San Diego Unified school board is calling for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the California Public Employee’s Retirement System (CalPERS) to divest from fossil fuel interests. Unfortunately, this call to action underscores yet another group that is failing to understand the financial consequences of divestment action.

Pensions should not be a chess piece in a game of social activism, and yet this move puts a target on the … Read More

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