onsdag 13. mai 2020

Trump pressures federal pension to halt planned Chinese stock purchases

The Trump administration is pressing an independent board charged with overseeing billions in federal retirement dollars to freeze plans to invest in Chinese companies that Washington suspects of abusing human rights or threatening U.S. security. At issue is whether administrators of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a retirement savings fund for federal employees and members of the military, should allow its $40 billion international fund (I-Fund) to track an index that includes some China-based stocks of companies under scrutiny in Washington.

The TSP’s administrators, known as the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, decided in 2017 to make the investment shift in the second half of 2020 to boost returns. They have begun opening custodial accounts abroad to channel the funds. But China hard-liners in Washington have pushed back. They argue that U.S. federal employee pension dollars should not fund companies like aircraft and avionics company Aviation Industry Corp of China, which supplies China’s military, as well as surveillance firm Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co Ltd, which was sanctioned by Washington for human right abuses.

They also point to heightened risk for investors, since Chinese companies do not have to comply with strict U.S. financial disclosure rules.