The pressure to divest from Russian investments is everywhere. Both from an environmental, social and governance perspective and a financially prudent one, Russian assets are extremely high risk right now. But many of the United States’ largest pension funds still have assets in the country, making them vulnerable to even further financial downturn as the war with Ukraine wages on.
Moscow’s stock market is already amidst one of its worst crashes in history. The Russian Trade Index has plunged 23.6% between February 22 and February 25. It is expected to fall even lower throughout today as Russian banks have been cut off from SWIFT, the independent organization that facilitates international payments by linking more than 11,000 banks and other financial players in over 200 countries and territories.
The United States’ largest pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and California State Teachers’ Retirement System both have funds invested in Russian assets. A spokesperson for CalPERS told Reuters that the fund has $900 million in exposure to Russia. CalSTRS has approximately $800 million in Russian exposure, according to Reuters.