California pension fund won't drop tobacco divestment talks

AP News
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Posted: Apr 18, 2016 5:51 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The board overseeing the nation's largest public-employee pension fund will consider reinvesting in tobacco stocks it sold off more than a decade ago.

The California Public Employees' Retirement System investment committee decided Monday to review the tobacco divestment over the next two years and make a final decision in early 2018. The committee narrowly rejected a proposal to end the discussion now and continue the current tobacco policy.

Financial advisers found CalPERS has lost up to $3 billion since deciding in 2000 to sell off tobacco stocks.

Board members who want to continue the divestment debate say they need to ensure CalPERS is fulfilling its constitutional obligation to maximize investment returns and protect retirement benefits.