ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has directed all staff to prohibit new investment in Russian companies and is reviewing investments in the New York State Retirement Fund. This announcement comes after Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state will no longer be doing business with Russian entities.
It’s been six days since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in an unprovoked attack. Here in New York, state leaders are standing by Ukraine.
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said it’s prudent to freeze purchases in all Russian companies. “It’s important to send a message that we have compassionate concern for the Ukrainian people who are really under siege right now,” he said. “We hope there will be a peaceful resolution, but certainly with what we are seeing hour by hour, it just seems to be getting worse, not better unfortunately.”
DiNapoli has ordered a review of current investments from The New York State Common Retirement Fund, a trust that finances retirement benefits for state and local workers. It is a global investor and has a portfolio of international stocks. “We are doing an assessment of all of our holdings, but it looks like in terms of public equities—which is primarily the exposure we are talking about—is just shy of $111 million out of $280 billion,” he said.
DiNapoli said this is a very small amount of the portfolio and that Russia has not been a great place to be an investor or make money. “In terms of impact on the fund, even if we go beyond freezing any new investments, if we get out of investments that we have already— when you’re talking about such a small amount compared to our total fund, I don’t see it harming the fund at all,” he said.
When it comes to Hochul’s directive for all state agencies to conduct a review, DiNapoli supports the decision. “To be honest with you, I’d be very surprised if there are any state contracts with Russian companies,” he said.