Clwyd Pension Fund assures disinvestment strategy from fossil fuel firms
Assurances have been given that a strategy is in place for the Clwyd Pension Fund to ‘disinvest’ from companies trading in, or extracting, fossil fuels.
The fund controls money saved by public sector workers at Flintshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire councils for their retirement, as well as staff from other organisations in the area.
In 2021 a motion was put forward by the Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats opposition groups on Wrexham Council requesting the authority urge the fund to divest from coal, oil and gas companies, due to the threat posed to residents by climate change.
But this was rejected by the council’s executive board due to concern it could knock the value of staff pensions.
Earlier this year Flintshire Council’s climate change committee agreed to hold a public inquiry about the Clwyd Pension Fund’s net zero investment targets and divestment from fossil fuel companies.
Flintshire Council is the administrator of the pension fund which has a target of becoming net zero by 2045.
Around 1.2 per cent of the fund’s assets are invested in fossil fuel areas.
At a meeting of Flintshire Council’s governance and audit committee, Cilcain Cllr Andrew Parkhurst (Lib Dem) had questions about whether the council was braced for any effects disinvestment could have on finances.
Cllr Parkhurst asked whether the chief actuary had expressed any opinion on what the effect might be upon disinvestment and what the implications are likely to be for the council’s finances.
The council’s chief executive Neal Cockerton moved to assure the committee that a strategy is in place which has been rigorously examined by the pensions committee, consultants and the council’s actuary.
Mr Cockerton said: “There is a very clear strategy the pension fund has set out for that disinvestment approach.
“That strategy will have been approved by the pensions committee and will have had oversight through the specific professional consultants that advise and that support the pension fund.
“I also think that it would have had oversight by our actuary to make sure that it is robust and adequate to deal with that disinvestment strategy.”
Mr Cockerton added that chief finance officer Gary Ferguson could provide a formal written response to Cllr Parkhurst’s question.
“The strategy is quite clearly available for anyone to see in terms of the pension funds’ approach to disinvestment from fossil fuels”, Mr Cockerton added.
“There is quite a detailed document there if you wanted to make yourself familiar with it Cllr Parkhurst.”
Submissions can still be made to the climate change committee’s public inquiry on the Clwyd Pension Fund’s investment strategy to become carbon net zero, with the deadline being August 4.
More information can be found on Flintshire Council’s website at Clwyd Pension Fund (flintshire.gov.uk)
By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here). Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com