Islington Council has divested £1.14m of Russian-linked pension holdings

Islington Town Hall

Islington Town Hall - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

Islington Council has divested £1.14million worth of pension holdings that are linked to Russian businesses. 

The Labour-led Town Hall is currently working to rid itself of all Russian-linked investments. 

It follows the widely condemned invasion of Ukraine.

Councillor Paul Convery, chairman of the pension subcommittee said: "Russia’s brutal military attack on Ukraine has horrified the world and it is right that the appropriate action is taken.

"On February 28, Islington Council undertook a diligence exercise to identify any pension fund investments tied to Russian businesses. This has shown we have shareholdings in a number of Russian listed companies held indirectly through a pooled emerging markets fund managed by LGIM/BMO (Legal & General).

"These holdings were valued at £1.14m but they are now 'stranded assets' with no evident value. They cannot be sold because the Russian equity markets are closed and any investments denominated in Russian roubles will be almost worthless as the Russian currency has collapsed.

"Islington Council will divest these holdings either by sale as soon as possible or we shall write-off as being worthless assets.”

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The authority has also reiterated its solidarity with Ukraine. 

Cllr Convery added: “Inevitably a write-off will have an impact on the fund value but these holdings represented a very small element in the fund's whole portfolio which is currently worth £1.66billion, therefore slightly less than 0.1 per cent of the fund.”

The pension subcommittee will meet on March 14 to discuss if any further steps can be made. 

Cllr Convery spoke after being challenged by the borough’s Liberal Democrat party to disclose dealings with Russian businesses. 

In an open letter, Islington Lib Dem member Kate Pothalingam wrote: “I am asking for Islington Council’s pension fund to divest - as a matter of urgency - from any shareholdings it has in Russian companies.” 

She added that the Local Government Pension Scheme Advisory Board is advising local bodies to divest away from Russian sources. 

Islington Council is encouraging anybody who wishes to show solidarity to contribute to one of the charities supported by the Mayor of London.