Minister for Finance welcomes tobacco divestment by ISIF
The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan T.D., announced that the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has completed the sale of its remaining investments in tobacco manufacturing, as part of a wider process of selling its legacy investments over time. On announcing this move, Minister Noonan stated:
“I welcome the commercial decision by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to exit from its legacy tobacco investments. Ireland has earned a significant reputation as a leader in tobacco control and is currently ranked 2nd out of 34 countries. As we know tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable death in Ireland and throughout the world.”
“The legislation that established the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, provides that the Fund’s investment strategy will be carried out in accordance with Government policy. Today’s decision reinforces the Government’s policy on tobacco.”
All ISIF investments, since its establishment in December 2014, comply with the Fund’s Sustainability and Responsible Investment Policy, which sets out key principles for responsible investment. As part of the implementation of ISIF’s mandate, the transitional global portfolio of the National Pension Reserve Fund is being sold over a period of years in order to provide capital for investment in Ireland.
The ISIF decision to divest of all legacy investments in tobacco manufacturing companies is part of a wider review of the exclusion of categories of investment from the Fund as a whole which is due to be completed in early 2017.
The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan T.D., added that:
“Public policy is not fixed and can evolve, and the ongoing reviews by the ISIF are opportunities to fine tune its investment approach in the light of relevant developments both nationally and internationally”.
The decision by ISIF was also welcomed by Minister of State for Financial Services, Eoghan Murphy T.D., who stated that:
“Though the quantum of ISIF’s tobacco investments were quite small in the context of the ISIF’s overall assets, the decision to divest is consistent with the Government’s commitment to tobacco control and is in line with the ISIF’s commitment to responsible investment”.
21 December 2016
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Notes to Editors
The NTMA (Amendment) Act 2014, which established the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), provides that ownership of ISIF is vested in the Minister for Finance, and that the NTMA, in determining and reviewing its investment strategy for the IISF, shall consult the Minister for Finance.
ISIF keeps under review all of its investments for exposures to sectors and/or companies with potentially controversial business exposures and associated reputational risks. The ISIF operates to high international standards and invests in line with both the UN-sponsored Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the Santiago Principles, which are the globally accepted best practice principles for sovereign investment funds such as ISIF.
Prior to today’s announcement the Cluster Munitions and Anti-Personnel Mines Act (2008) was the only exclusion, as mandated by legislation, applying to ISIF’s investments. In that context the ISIF operates a prohibited securities list of 19 companies on this basis.