THE pension fund for Holyrood politicians has been urged to ditch its shares in the Russian state-owned Sberbank, which was among those sanctioned by the United States over Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

The Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme (SPPS) has around £299,571 invested in Sberbank, according to a freedom of information request by The Ferret.

One in two Russians has an account with Sberbank – which, while sanctioned by Joe Biden’s US administration, was not targeted by the UK Government in its measures hindering Russia’s finances.

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The MSP pension fund is run by Edinburgh-based investment manager Baillie Gifford, with the Scottish Government saying the matter is for the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and the fund’s trustees.

The Scottish Greens and LibDems are now calling for the investment to be withdrawn.

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Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer told The Ferret: “I cannot fathom why the Scottish Parliament Pension Fund has holdings in Sberbank in the first place. But, in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is clearly inappropriate for that to remain the case.

“Some trustees of the fund have resisted ethical investment policies for too long but I’m sure most MSPs and former MSPs will want this urgently addressed and Sberbank immediately divested from.”

The Sberbank shares are part of the managed pension fund element of Baillie Gifford’s investment of pension contributions.

The response to the FOI request said: “Under this arrangement the SPPS is one of a number of investors in these pooled funds. It does not own any stocks, nor can the fund trustees determine the holdings within the pooled funds.”

Asked about reviewing the investment, a Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “The trustees agreed in March 2021 all future pensions contributions would be invested in a sustainable, ethical fund that excludes companies that contravene UN principles on human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.

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“The SPPS invests in pooled funds with Baillie Gifford. It is one of a number of investors in the funds, therefore beyond these ethical conditions, the trustees cannot direct Baillie Gifford in their investment strategy.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government has no involvement in the Scottish Parliament pension scheme. This is a matter for the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body and the Fund Trustees.”

The National:

Scottish LibDems economy spokesperson and former leader Willie Rennie echoed Greer’s calls for action.

He said: “Scotland needs to play its part in putting the squeeze on Vladimir Putin and his regime and that means using the financial leverage we have.

"In the grand scheme of things this is not a huge sum of money but it is important to send a message that Putin’s behaviour in Ukraine will not be tolerated or supported.”

The Ferret reported that Baillie Gifford did not respond to a request for comment.