HARRISBURG – Noting substantial investor losses of those private funds invested in Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Ukraine, Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford) said he will soon introduce legislation requiring an examination of geopolitical risk be conducted as part of the investment analysis when the state Treasury or Pennsylvania’s public pension funds invest in the financial assets in foreign countries.
Combined the Treasury and public pension funds invest $150 billion in taxpayer assets.
“Pennsylvania’s public investment funds make up a significant amount of taxpayer assets and there could be a large amount of money at risk when they are invested in financial assets held by foreign countries, depending on the geopolitical landscape of the time,” Owlett said.
“While the Commonwealth has done the right thing by recently divesting itself of Chinese financial assets in the State Treasury while maintaining historic divestiture in public funds of financial assets connected to other hostile nations like Iran, Sudan, Russia and Belarus, an ever-forward looking approach should be instituted so we can avoid a huge ripple effect when foreign investments tank because of rapidly changing geopolitical circumstances.”
Owlett’s legislation would also require an annual report be compiled by the public investment funds and sent to the General Assembly outlining investments in foreign nations.
“The Pennsylvania General Assembly has a major oversight role over this large amount of taxpayer money,” Owlett added. “It is imperative as part of that necessary oversight that we are informed about what money is invested in foreign nations and can appropriately legislate when changing geopolitical circumstances demand a permanent change in the law regarding how this money can be invested.”
You can read the co-sponsorship memo outlining the proposal here
Rep. Clint Owlett
68th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler