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US funds consider blacklisting off-shore companies

US- US pension funds with combined assets of $1trn are meeting today in New York to discuss the proposal that they cease investing in companies based in off-shore tax havens. If the proposal goes through 22 companies could see their stock being sold by US pension funds.

A further point of discussion will be whether to continue investing in companies that do not abide by good business practice, in light of the heavy losses incurred by corporate scandals from companies such as Tyco, Enron and Worldcom.

Attending today’s meeting will be Phil Angelides, the Californian treasurer, who is spearheading the issue of banning investment in companies that set up off-shore tax havens.

Angelides will be calling on the US’s largest public pension fund, CalPERS and its sister fund CalSTRS, the Californian teachers scheme, to back the proposal, although the former has stated that it will not consider the issue until its investment board meeting on Friday, and the latter not until October.

In a statement last week, however, CalPERS admitted that it disagreed with companies setting-up offshore as shareholders would lose protection.

CalPERS invests $334m in offshore companies that include Tyco, Ingersoll-Rand, Cooper Industries and Everest Reinsurance Group.

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