CalPERS says has ceased new investment flows into Russia

NEW YORK, March 3 (Reuters) - The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund, said on Thursday it has ceased all transactions in Russian publicly traded equity and has stopped the flow of any new investments into the country due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

CalPERS isalso assessing its real estate investments in Russia, the fund operator said in a statement.

As of March 2, CalPERS owned around $420 million of Russian public stocks and $345 million in illiquid real estate assets, according to a letter the fund operator sent to California Governor Gavin Newsom seen by Reuters.

CalPERS' total investments in Russia represent about 0.17% of its total investment portfolio and it holds no Russian debt, the letter said.

Western sanctions on Moscow have prompted a wave of investors to announce they were cutting positions in Russia. Authorities in Russia, however, have banned local brokers from selling securities held by foreigners. read more

"It is important to note that current sanctions, market restrictions, and closure of local stock exchanges have placed significant constraints on CalPERS’ ability to liquidate its holdings," CalPERS said in the letter, signed by Theresa Taylor, president of the CalPERS Board of Administration.

The pension fund also said it was reviewing all its investments in emerging markets, including Russia, due to the impacts the crisis has had on all financial markets.

BlackRock (BLK.N), the world's largest asset manager, said it had suspended the purchase of all Russian securities in its active and index funds on Monday.

Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Bernard Orr

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