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Questions Surface About State Pension Fund Investments

A state official is raising questions about investments of funds from the state's pension fund in companies with ties to terrorism. The MOSERS Board is meeting this morning in St Louis to consider a new policy for screening investments. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

State Treasurer Sara Steelman says she was disappointed when a 3-member subcommittee of the MOSERS board met last week and voted to change the state's investment policy.

She says the vote weakened the policy and will allow the state to continue to invest in companies like Arab Bank.

Steelman's accusations that the MOSERS subcommittee took a step backward when it adopted a new policy angered State Representative Todd Smith.

He's the vice chairman of the Board of Trustees for MOSERS and serves on the subcommittee that voted to change MOSERS policy.

He defends the state's investment in Arab Bank.

The subcommittee voted to screen investments against a list produced by the Office of Foreign Asset Control.

Steelman says no companies in which MOSERS currently invests are on the list.

She has her own plan for screening investments that she says is better than the one the subcommittee approved.

Steelman's plan hasn't gained the support of Todd Smith.

He says her proposal will prevent pension fund investments in many profitable, upstanding American companies.

Smith says Missouri has been among the most active states in ensuring public pension funds are not being invested in companies with ties to terrorism.

Steelman says she hopes the full MOSERS Board will consider her suggestion that would prevent investment in companies with direct ties to governments that are sanctioned by the U-S government.