Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. Putin has convened top officials to consider recognizing the independence of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine. Such a move would ratchet up tensions with the West amid fears that the Kremlin could launch an invasion of Ukraine imminently. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. Putin has convened top officials to consider recognizing the independence of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine. Such a move would ratchet up tensions with the West amid fears that the Kremlin could launch an invasion of Ukraine imminently. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

AIMCo to divest all Russian holdings amid invasion; Caisse has ‘no interest’ in exposure in Russia

One of Canada’s largest institutional investment funds is divesting all Russian holdings citing the invasion of Ukraine and the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Alberta Investment Management Corp. says the decision reflects “a change in the price of geopolitical risk” and sustained impairment to the underlying value of the respective companies.

It says it has a fiduciary duty to clients to act in their best interests and that the decision reflects its “prudent investment of capital.”

AIMCo says it had less than $99 million in direct and indirect exposure to Russian securities as of market close on Monday, accounting for 0.06 per cent of its more than $160 billion in assets under management.

The Crown corporation also says it will not purchase Russian assets during the conflict or while financial sanctions are being applied to Russia or its leaders. It also points out that current regulatory conditions mean some trading in Russian securities has been curbed.

AIMCo is responsible for the investments of pension, endowment and government funds in Alberta.

Last week the head of Canada’s second-largest pension fund said he had sold Russian assets and aims to avoid future investments in the country.

Charles Emond, CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, told reporters Thursday he has “no interest in investing directly and being exposed to the strategies when it comes to Russia.”

He said the Caisse has “sold all its positions” in newly sanctioned companies. These include Gazprom and Sberbank, giants of the Russian energy and banking sectors respectively that the pension fund recently held stakes in.