California Retirement Fund Reconsiders Tobacco Investments
On Wednesday, the California State Teachers' Retirement System, or CalSTRS, began considering investments in tobacco companies after an eight-year ban, the Sacramento Bee reports.
CalSTRS, which has a $172 billion fund, sold off $238 million in tobacco investments in 2000 after deciding the tobacco industry's stocks were too risky. The fund now estimates that its tobacco stocks would be worth about $1 billion today if it had not sold them eight years ago.
Phil Angelides, former state treasurer and CalSTRS board member, also successfully pushed the California State Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, to sell its tobacco stocks.
Anti-tobacco groups praised both decisions, although Angelides said the sell-off was strictly business-related.
However, Treasurer Bill Lockyer urged the board to continue its ban on tobacco investments, citing tobacco's effects on health care costs.
The CalSTRS board said it will continue its discussion on investing in tobacco stocks again in September (Ortiz, Sacramento Bee, 6/5).
A CalPERS spokesperson said it is "monitoring the CalSTRS situation" about investing in tobacco again (Karmin, Wall Street Journal, 6/5).