Illinois reviewing pensions for gun investments

Illinois reviewing pensions for gun investments

SPRINGFIELD— Illinois public pension fund managers are reviewing their portfolios for investments in gun manufacturers after last week's Connecticut school shooting.

Illinois State Board of Investment Executive Director William Atwood says that agency's $12 billion portfolio includes about 84,000 shares worth $1.7 million in three gun-makers — Olin, Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson.

Neither Atwood's agency nor the Teachers' Retirement System does business with Cerberus Capital Management. Cerberus is the private-equity firm that announced this week it would sell the maker of the rifle used in the Connecticut school massacre that killed 26 people.

Spokesman Dave Urbanek says the teachers' system is reviewing its $37 billion portfolio for connections to other gun-makers as information for its trustees.

State law only prohibits investing in business with Sudan and Iran.

Beth Spencer with the State Universities Retirement System in Champaign said it conducted a review of its portfolio earlier this week and found no direct exposure to assault-style weapons through any of its private equity holdings "and 0.0 percent via our public securities," she said.

SURS has approximately $14.5 billion in fund assets in its defined benefit and defined contribution plans.

Over at the University of Illinois Foundation, the private fundraising arm of the university, spokesman Don Koijch said officials there have asked fund managers to review the foundation's holdings for any direct or indirect investments in firearm manufacturers. As of Friday, the foundation had not received the results of that review. The combined active endowment for the university and the UI Foundation is more than $1.6 billion.

Comments embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

gfpd wrote on December 22, 2012 at 9:12 am

You have got to be kidding me right.  Do they pull their investments if someone dies in a particular brand of cars .  Maybe they should be more worried about their current fiscal problems instead of making knee jerk reactions.

rsp wrote on December 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Fund A invests money from teachers. Companies making guns run ads that advertise how fast you can shoot lots and lots of rounds so even if you're a bad shot you will probably kill something. Angry person sees ad, buys gun, kills teachers and students. 

So it would be wrong of teachers to not want want to be in on the action?

Joe American wrote on December 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Don't let the feel-good nature of their actions fool you.  Gun mfr. stocks are going through the roof and to sell now is a wise financial move for their shareholders.  The goal of the fund managers is to make money for their clients, not appease some do-gooders.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

They need to look at prospective bad investments.  Gun manufacturers are appearing to be bad investments due to a potential ban on assault rifles, and high capacity magazines.  It is not a "knee jerk reaction".  It is protecting investment money.  Private individuals holding investments in the gun manufacturers are doing the same thing right now.  Do you want them to hold bad investments for the sake of anti-gun control advocates?

jdmac44 wrote on December 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I find it interesting that Illinois still had any investments with gun manufacturers, given the anti-gun mentality of Mike Madigan and Pat Quinn, but so long as it's convenient, fiscally or politically...

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm

If the workers pensions investments were left up to Madigan, and Quinn; there would be no money invested.  Those two thieves along with the legislators would have stolen it.  Any other state than Illinois would have put both of the scoundrels behind bars years ago.  Quinn is lower than whale waste; and Madigan is so low that he can walk under doors.

sameeker wrote on December 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm

There are other investment shat should be dumped also if they are talking about "morality".

Halliburton - Iraq

Oil stocks - price fixing, bribery, environmental damage.

Wall street firms, banks and automakers - bailouts.

All business contributing to Norquist and the TEA party - obvious.

All businesses outsourcing jobs to China - exploitation.

Any company tied in with the military or prison industries - injustice.

Keep talking morals people, I'll play.



Sid Saltfork wrote on December 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Sadly; American big business capitalism has nothing to do with morality, or patriotism.  To much of the world, American democracy is American big business capitalism.  Our citizens are the only ones who are oblivious to it. 

Bulldogmojo wrote on December 28, 2012 at 11:12 am

I am in the self managed plan and one of the allocations TIAA-Cref offered was a "Social conscience" as an option that looked at investing in companies that are environmentally friendly etc. SURS doesn't allow traditional member input on allocation. This is a distraction from the real issue.

The state needs to turn their attention to doing one thing and one thing only. Paying off ALL of its past due money into the pension plan and worry about allocation later.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Amen to that.  That would be the legal, and moral thing to do.