Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bill to Divest from Fossil Fuel Is a Senate Power Grab That Will Hurt New Yorkers

There's a good reason that the comptroller has sole authority over investment decisions

by Jeff Stier

More than a million fire fighters, police and other New York State employees who are relying on the already perilously funded New York State Common Retirement Fund as a key component of their nest eggs face a new threat. It comes from a surprising foe: New York's most liberal legislators.

Senator Liz Kreuger, who represents Manhattan's East Side, has introduced legislation that would force the fund's sole trustee and fiduciary, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, to quickly sell all holdings in fossil fuel companies, no matter the financial impact it will have on return or risk.

Kreuger and her allies, who have introduced a companion bill in the Assembly, are doing so even over strong objections from DiNapoli and his respected investment team in the Comptroller's office, who are required by law to act only in the financial best interest of the fund's beneficiaries, state employees.

DiNapoli is no climate denier. He's been a champion of environmental causes throughout his career.
In fact, during the event at which he was given the New York State Bar Association's award for environmental achievement, DiNapoli opposed divestiture from fossil fuels because it would do more harm than good not only for investors, but for popular environmental causes.

In other words, not only would smart investors swoop in and buy the glut of stocks he'd have to dump on the market, he'd lose his powerful seat at the table as a major shareholder. He's been adept at using that clout to advance environmental causes through shareholder action.

DiNapoli's divestiture denouncement while receiving an award from the state's most prominent environmental lawyers was courageous.

His position also exemplifies the meaning of "fiduciary.".......To Read More....





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