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NZ Super Fund excludes three Israeli firms on ethical grounds

The $20 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund has excluded three Israeli companies from its portfolio on ethical grounds because of their involvement in illegal settlements and its security wall.

The fund's investments in the firms were insubstantial. Some $9744 was held in Africa Israel and its subsidiary Danya Cebus, which had been involved in building Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Shikun & Binui, of which the fund held $19,898 of shares, was also excluded because of its involvement in building settlements.

The fund held $36,532 in another firm, Elbit Systems, which was excluded because of its involvement in the construction of the separation barrier in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which Israel built as a protection against terrorist attacks and the fund cited as being illegal under international law.

"Findings by the United Nations that the separation barrier and settlement activities were illegal under international law were central to the fund's decision to exclude the companies," says the fund's manager for responsible investment, Anne-Maree O'Connor, in a statement.

"The fund also factored in votes by New Zealand for UN Security Council resolutions demanding the cessation and dismantling of the separation barrier, and the cessation of Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories," she says.

All three stocks were held passively in the fund's global equity portfolio, which is managed externally and includes shares in more than 6500 companies around the world, the Super Fund said.

(BusinessDesk)