(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by the Office of City Comptroller John C. Liu
and received via electronic mail. The release was confirmed by
May 8, 2013
NEW YORK CITY EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM
DIVESTS ITSELF FROM GUN INDUSTRY STOCKS
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- City Comptroller John C. Liu today announced
that the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) --
one of the largest public pension funds in the nation -- has
fully divested its stock holdings of publicly traded gun and
ammunition manufacturers. The sale of these assets follows a
review of NYCERS’ exposure to investments in gun and ammunition
makers following recent tragedies, including the school shooting
in Newtown, Conn.
The prevalence of gun violence in the nation’s towns and cities
prompted the $45.7 billion fund to conduct a thorough analysis
of its investments in the gun industry with the aid of its
outside advisor. The analysis found that divestment of those
holdings would be consistent with the Board’s fiduciary duties
and, on April 23, the NYCERS trustees voted to approve a
resolution sponsored by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
to divest the system’s holdings in gun and ammunition makers in
the interest of their 345,000 hardworking members and retirees.
“Our City’s employees do not want their pension dollars
supporting companies whose products tear apart families and
shatter communities,” Comptroller Liu said. “Our Funds are
exposed to financial and reputational risk with these
investments. Removing our money lets the public and these
companies know that we are determined to take whatever steps we
can to stop the scourge of gun violence.”
“Gun violence is a national issue, and it is unfortunate that
our residents here in the Bronx and across the state have to
live in fear of losing their lives or the life of a loved one
due to such senseless act of violence. I applaud NYCERS’
decision to fully divest its stock holdings of publicly traded
gun and ammunition manufacturers, a decision made following my
introduction of a resolution in January. This will send a strong
message to the gun industry that we will not invest in companies
that put military-grade weapons on our streets. Our City has
always been willing to use its financial muscle to stand up for
what is right and just, and I am proud that we have continued
that tradition with this action,” said Bronx Borough President
Ruben Diaz Jr.
District Council 37 (DC 37) applauded and strongly endorsed
NYCERS’ decision to fully divest its stock holdings of publicly
traded gun and ammunition manufacturers, said DC 37 Executive
Director and NYCERS trustee Lillian Roberts.
“Guns are responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s murders and
kill more than 30,000 people per year,” said Ms. Roberts. “Gun
violence costs the U.S. one hundred billion dollars annually.
This action by NYCERS will send a message to the gun industry
that their products are not an acceptable investment for NYCERS’
members and retirees.”
NYCERS divested its holdings in Alliant Techsystems Inc. (NYSE:
ATK), Olin Corp. (NYSE: OLN), Sturm Ruger & Co. (NYSE: RGR),
Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: SWHC), and Forjas Taurus
SA, which had a combined value of $16,260,630 as of the April 23
NYCERS’ sale of its holdings in gun and ammunition makers
follows on the heels of such a divestment by another New York
City pension fund, the Teachers Retirement System (TRS).
In addition to Comptroller Liu, who also serves as investment
advisor to the fund, the New York City Employees’ Retirement
System trustees are Janice Emery, Mayor’s Representative
(Chair); New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Borough
Presidents: Scott Stringer (Manhattan), Helen Marshall (Queens),
Marty Markowitz (Brooklyn), James Molinaro (Staten Island), and
Ruben Diaz, Jr. (Bronx); Lillian Roberts, Executive Director,
District Council 37, AFSCME; John Samuelsen, President Transport
Workers Union Local 100; and Gregory Floyd, President,
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 237.
Matthew Sweeney, (212) 669-3747
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