Australia urges pension funds to dump Russian assets

The Australian government said on Thursday it “strongly expects” the country’s pension funds to review their investment portfolios and take steps to divest themselves of any stake in Russian assets. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to severe Western sanctions and caused a number of companies to sever their ties with the country by offloading their assets or halting their operations.

It was important to send a “clear and unequivocal signal” that Australia condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia’s “unprovoked and unwarranted attack” on Ukraine, the government said. Russian assets represent a very small proportion of Australia’s AU$3.5 trillion ($2.56 trillion) pension fund asset pool.

The announcement comes just after Australia’s A$204 billion sovereign wealth fund announced plans to reduce exposure to Russian-listed companies. “The Australian Government reiterates its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine,” the Scott Morrison-led government said in a statement.

Australia’s banking regulator said in a separate statement it would take no action against trustees seeking to divest Russian assets. ($1 = 1.3661 Australian dollars)

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