For Immediate Release - January 03, 2012

Massachusetts Pension Fund Finalizes Divestment from Iran

Commonwealth’s Among the First State Pension Funds to Completely Divest

The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board today announced that it has divested all its holdings in companies with major ties to Iran's energy industry, thereby fulfilling the mandate of a state law designed to put pressure on the rogue state to halt its nuclear weapons program and other destabilizing acts in the Persian Gulf region.

“Our prompt response to the call to divest sends a clear signal that the actions of Iran will not be tolerated on the international stage or in the boardroom,” said Treasurer Steven Grossman, who chairs the PRIM Board.  “Targeted sanctions on Iran offer the best prospect for deterring the Iranian aggression that threatens the security of the United States and its allies, including Israel.  Massachusetts’s efforts are very much in concert with the sanctions being imposed by Washington and Europe.

The push to divest came amidst Iran’s role in state-sponsored terrorism, its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and its overall threat to world peace.  The Massachusetts PRIM Board joined a number of other pension funds that are working to sever ties to business interests in Iran, and it is one of the first state funds to totally divest.

“I’m pleased to report that the Iran divestiture was completed on time and in compliance with the law,” said PRIM Executive Director Michael Trotsky.

Under the terms of Chapter 232 of the Acts of 2010, the PRIM Board retained Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc. to develop a list of companies with significant business interests in Iran’s energy sector, which would then be targeted for divestment.  As the process moved ahead, PRIM achieved compliance not only by selling off securities in the targeted companies, but also because some of the companies severed their ties with Iran and were dropped from the restricted list.

“This is proof positive that sanctions work,” Treasurer Grossman said, “Major corporations changed their behavior in response to the prohibitions, resulting in increased economic pressure on Iran.”

The PRIM Board finalized the Iran divestment on December 30, 2011.