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A pension fund with almost 100,000 members across Cheshire said it is reviewing its investments in a Russian bank due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, writes Mark Smith.

The Cheshire Pension Fund is used by Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Warrington and Halton councils, Cheshire Police, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and more than 200 other organisations across the county including schools, colleges and parish councils.

With assets of over £5 billion, it is one of the top 100 pension funds in the country and its list of investments includes £2,258,722 in Sberbank, a state-owned Russian banking and financial services company headquartered in Moscow.

The European Central Bank warned yesterday (Monday) that Sberbank’s European subsidiary faced collapse following waves of sanctions and restrictive financial measures unleashed by western nations against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

A spokesman for Cheshire West and Chester Council, which administers the fund, said it was unable to comment on specifics due to financial regulations, but confirmed its investment was being ‘actively reviewed’.

He said: “The Cheshire Pension Fund currently holds shares in Sberbank via an external appointed investment manager, who are charged with making all investment decisions.

“The shares are held via a US stock exchange listing and therefore in line with the regulations of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission we are unable to comment on any plans to buy or sell individual holdings.

“However, the holding is being actively reviewed by the investment manager in liaison with the Cheshire Pension Fund with a particular focus on ensuring full compliance with the rapidly evolving sanctions regime.”

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