CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice, in his role as Chairman of the West Virginia Investment Management Board (WVIMB), called for an emergency meeting of the Investment Committee of the WVIMB on Tuesday, March 8, to discuss the fund’s investment in Russian-backed securities.
The Governor asked the Investment Committee, through his designee, Secretary of Revenue Dave Hardy, to re-evaluate its financial exposure to Russian-backed securities and to also consider a resolution which would state the WVIMB’s position that investment in any Russian-backed securities is unacceptable going forward in light of the current crisis in Ukraine.
“We continue to witness unspeakable human atrocities being committed by the Russian government against the people of Ukraine, and even though this action may seem small, everything we can do to help is worth it,” Gov. Justice said.
Currently, approximately 0.2% of the WVIMB’s total assets are invested in Russian-backed securities. Due to current geopolitical legal and regulatory restrictions, it is very unlikely that those assets can be divested at this time. However, going forward, the WVIMB has discretion to disallow any further investments in Russian-backed securities.
The WVIMB is the entity responsible for the long-term investments of the State of West Virginia. The vast majority of the assets that the WVIMB manages consists of the State’s defined benefit retirement plans. The remaining assets that the WVIMB invests are State and local government funds such as insurance and risk pool funds, endowment funds, municipal pensions, and trust funds.
The WVIMB consists of 13 members. Three of them – the Governor, the State Auditor, and the State Treasurer – serve by virtue of their political office. The remaining 10 are appointed by the Governor.