North Carolina

Regulation: The State Treasurer unilaterally adopted the Iran Divestment Policy, prohibiting North Carolina Retirement Systems (NCRS) investment in any companies doing business in Iran exceeding $20 million in value. (1) The policy contains exceptions for securities held in index funds and for securities held in funds in which NCRS has joint ownership of shares with an investor that has not been sanctioned by the policy. (2)

Key actor: State Treasurer Janet Cowell

Contracting and divestment legislation: The North Carolina legislature passed an all-encompassing bill, SB 455 (Iran Divestment Act of 2015), which includes both contracting restrictions and divestment requirements. The bill establishes a prohibition on entering into contracts with companies providing goods and services worth more than $20 million to Iran’s energy sector, or financial institutions extending credit of $20 million or more. It also requires NCRS and the Department of the State Treasurer to divest from any such companies. (3) The State Treasurer is given leeway to determine whether divestment actions are consistent with the fiduciary responsibilities of the Retirement Systems. SB 455 takes no additional action with regard to divestment than already existed as a result of North Carolina’s 2012 regulations. (4)

Key actor: SB 455 was introduced by Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance County). Gunn admitted that he was not aware of any existing contracts between the state of North Carolina and Iran’s energy sector, and said that the bill was primarily symbolic. (5)

Updated: 05/31/2016

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