In response to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the Alberta Investment Management Corp. and the British Columbia Investment Management Corp. are divesting from Russian assets.

“As Alberta’s investment manager, this decision is both values- and value-driven,” said a press release. “It reflects a change in the price of geopolitical risk and sustained impairment to the underlying value of the respective companies. We have a fiduciary obligation to our clients to act in their best interests and we believe this decision aligns with our investment discretion, policies and prudent investment of capital.”

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As of market close on Feb. 28, 2022, the AIMCo’s direct and indirect exposure to Russian securities was approximately $99 million or about 0.006 per cent of its total assets under management. The entirety of the institutional investor’s Russian assets is found within its $48.7 billion private equity portfolio.

The BCI, which currently holds $107 million in Russian stocks, began selling down its holdings in Russian securities during the weeks that preceded the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. As a result of sanctions and a Russian ban on foreigners selling Russian securities, the BCI said its efforts have ground to a halt.

“BCI has not only been working to sell the Russian shares in our clients’ portfolios but also to have Russia removed from all global and emerging market indices,” said Gordon Fyfe, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of the BCI, in a press release. “We don’t normally comment publicly on our investment activities; however, given the egregious actions of Russia, it is important to make an exception.”

The AIMCo’s decision makes it the first Canadian public sector investment organization to divest from Russian assets in response to the military offensive. In late February, the AkademikerPension, a US$23 billion fund that represents Denmark’s academics, announced it would cease allocating capital to Russian investment opportunities.

Read: Danish pension announces sanctions against Russia