Suffolk council's pension fund faces £4m write-down over Russian stocks

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Suffolk County Council's pension fund has been impacted by Russian investment - Credit: Jason Noble/LDRS

Around £4million in pension fund investments have been written down to nil as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Suffolk County Council has confirmed.

The authority confirmed one of its emerging market investments with UBS had exposure to Russian stocks, which were valued at £4m at the end of December.

It is understood that includes £900,000 in Gazprom – the Russian-owned energy supplier the authority last week confirmed it would be severing ties with.

The financial sanctions imposed by nations globally on the trading of Russian stocks has meant that the value of those funds is now nil, the council said.

Cllr Karen Soons, Conservative chair of the Suffolk pension fund committee, said:  “The Suffolk pension fund has a wide range of global investments which together have generated a 12.6% return in 2021.

“The Russian stocks are held in an emerging markets index fund and represent 0.1% of the fund as at 31 December, 2021.

“As a direct result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, trading on the Russian stock exchange has been suspended and Russian stocks will be removed from the index.

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“The Russian holdings were valued in December 2021 at £4m and are now regarded as nil. The proceeds from any eventual sales are expected to benefit the fund.

“Whilst this does represent a 0.1% loss, it should be seen in the context of the overall strong performance of the Suffolk pension fund.”

However, the opposition group deputy leader at the county council, Cllr Robert Lindsay, said he had fought for years for Suffolk pensions to divest Russian stocks.

He added: "If we had properly excluded fossil fuel stocks as I've been asking for six years, we would not be faced with nearly such a big write down."