Church of England joins investors seeking to exit Russian assets

  • Norwegian sovereign wealth fund plans to sell
  • New York Comptroller Evaluates Divestment Options
  • May find it difficult as central bank seeks to block selling

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – The Church of England has joined a growing list of investors seeking to exit Russian assets after the attack on Ukraine, although it may become more difficult.

Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board said they ordered fund managers on February 24 to sell their direct holdings in Russian companies in response to Russia’s attack against Ukraine.

The church also said it would no longer invest in Russian companies.

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“Before the investigation, holdings in Russian corporate portfolios represented approximately 0.16% of total investments. No investments were held in Russian sovereign debt,” a spokesperson said Monday.

The move follows news over the weekend that Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, was planning to do the same, and as the city comptroller of New York, he was reviewing the assets for possible divestment. Read more

However, the investor looking to sell will likely have a harder time doing so.

Russia’s central bank has ordered market participants to reject attempts by foreign clients to sell Russian securities. Read more

Meanwhile, Euroclear said on Monday it had cut its tie with rival settlement firm Clearstream Banking for settling trades in Russian securities in response to European Union financial sanctions.

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Reporting by Simon Jessop; edited by Sujata Rao and Karin Strohecker

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Jerry B. Hatch