London City Hall pensions have £5 million tied up in Russian investments

The Greater London Authority’s pension body has £5 million pounds in investments in Russia, Belarus and war-torn Ukraine, MyLondon can reveal.

The London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA) runs the pension fund for City Hall staff and many London councils – with billions in assets and 93,000 members across the capital. Now it has emerged that a chunk of its investments are tied up in the sanction-hit states of Russia and Belarus, as well as Ukraine which faces a potential military takeover.

Campaign group Make My Money Matter has called on UK pension schemes and providers to stop investing in Russia – and to ditch their Russian investments as soon as possible. It comes after two weeks of Russia’s bombardment of the Easter European state, where more than two million people have fled.

READ MORE:Ukrainian refugees need to be ‘welcomed with open arms’ in London and across UK, says Sadiq Khan

Dozens of flowers have been left at the Ukrainian Embassy in London by people horrified at the invasion

Dozens of flowers have been left at the Ukrainian Embassy in London by people horrified at the invasion

A spokesperson for the London Pensions Fund Authority said it planned to dispose of its Russian investments. They said: “LPFA have very limited exposure to assets in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine (c. £5 million) within our asset manager’s (LPPI) Global Equities Fund and the Credit Fund.

“Managers have been instructed to cease making any new investments into Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and we are also working with them to sell the small holdings that already exist within the portfolio. The broader ramifications of the conflict on the wider global economy and markets are very hard to predict. We will continue to monitor and respond appropriately.”

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member told MyLondon: “The decision by the LFPA is welcome and is exactly what I have called for following Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine and the atrocities being committed. Ending investments in Russian companies and bonds is not just about basic justice and showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine, but also long term economic interests for pension holders.”

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The London Pensions Fund Authority was formed to manage the former Greater London Council (GLC) pensions. As of 2017, the LPFA had around £4.6 billion of assets.

Make My Money Matter CEO, Tony Burdon cited a survey suggesting 86 per cent of voters believed UK pensions should not be invested in Russia. “That’s why we’re calling on all pension providers to divest from their Russian investment as soon as possible. In doing so, the financial sector can display moral leadership, sound financial management, and help protect the savings of UK pension holders,” Mr Burdon said.

Last week the Pensions Regulator said UK pension fund trustees should be “vigilant” about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions might affect them.

It comes after it emerged that more than 50 children have been killed as a result of Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s president told MPs on Wednesday. Volodymyr Zelensky was making an unprecedent address to the House of Commons amid the war in Ukraine, 13 days since Russia began bombarding the Eastern European nation. Ukraine has the fastest-growing refugee crisis since the Second World War, the United Nations has warned.

Josiah joined MyLondon as the outlet’s first City Hall Editor in October 2021, reporting on the Mayor, the London Assembly, the Met police, Transport for London, and wider London politics.

He moved to South London from Brussels in 2015, working in communications for the Electoral Reform Society, and covering Westminster politics as a freelance journalist. Originally from Cornwall, he is now also a proud Londoner. Josiah has appeared on BBC Radio 4, Times Radio, LBC and other outlets to discuss current affairs and general political chaos.

If you have an untold story – whether it’s a housing nightmare, an unfair decision or a local scandal, get in touch at [email protected] or contact Josiah on Twitter.

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