Westpac to cut Russia investments
Westpac will sell all its Russian investments as sanctions are imposed on the country after its invasion of Ukraine.
The investments it will sell include Russian Government bonds and a holding in Sberbank of Russia, which is 50 per cent owned by the Russian Government.
‘‘In light of the current events and international sanctions against Russian entities, we are in the process of divesting all government bonds and Russian shares subject to sanctions across all our investment funds, including Westpac KiwiSaver,’’ a spokesman for BTNZ said.
BTNZ, which manages investments for the Westpac KiwiSaver scheme, said less than 0.1 per cent of its investments were in Russian companies and government stock.
Westpac is not the only KiwiSaver scheme with Russian investments.
The ANZ and ASB KiwiSaver schemes also own a small number of Russian Government bonds.
The ASB KiwiSaver scheme’s latest portfolio holdings disclosure appears to show it even owns bonds issued by Russian Railways, which is owned by the Russian state, and which international media has reported has been used to move Russian troops and supplies to facilitate the invasion of Ukraine. The NZ Superannuation Fund, which was set up in 2001 to pre-fund pension payments, also has holdings in Sberbank and several other Russian companies.
A recent portfolio breakdown from the NZ Super Fund showed it had just under $25 million invested in Russian companies at the end of June, with $9.3m in Sberbank, which was targeted with limited United States sanctions following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Since then the price of shares in Russian banks and companies has crashed, as countries like the US and Britain, and the EU trade block imposed sanctions on Russia.
Many of Russia’s larger listed companies are oil and gas producers, and many KiwiSaver schemes have ceased to invest in fossil fuels.
‘‘. . . we are in the process of divesting all government bonds and Russian shares subject to sanctions across all our investment funds, including Westpac KiwiSaver.’’