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Council / SIC checking if any investments have links to Russia

SHETLAND Islands Council is currently exploring whether any of its investments have links to Russia or Russian companies, amid continued condemnation and economic sanctions levelled at Vladimir Putin’s government for invading Ukraine.

The council’s long-term investments were worth £446 million at the end of December.

They are looked after by three different fund managers – Baillie Gifford, BlackRock and Partners.

Its reserves are invested with the aim of securing a growth of 7.3 per cent each year.

Two thirds of the council’s investments are placed in equities – having shares in companies.

The Town Hall in the Ukraine flag colours on Tuesday. Photo: Jim Mullay

But with strict economic sanctions imposed on Russia by countries across the world, and public outcry at its invasion of Ukraine, the council has confirmed it is now looking at its make-up of investments.

A spokesperson said: “We are currently exploring whether any of the council’s investments have any links to Russia or any Russian companies.

“We expect our fund managers to provide us with this information soon, and we will then consider our options.”

As part of the investment process, fund managers are expected to consider all factors, including the “social, environmental and ethical policies of companies in which they may invest, to the extent that these may materially affect the long term prospects of such companies”.

It comes after Lerwick Town Hall was lit up in the Ukraine flag colours on Tuesday evening in a show of support for the country’s people.

Another local organisation sitting on big reserves is Shetland Charitable Trust, with its investments recently valued at nearly £500 million.

The trust, which began life in the 1970s as a way of distributing money paid by the oil industry after the launch of Sullom Voe Terminal, said in a short statement: “SCT is requesting information from its investment fund managers regarding the Russian situation.”

Meanwhile it was confirmed on Monday that any Russian shipping would not be allowed into UK ports.

It came after Shetland News revealed last Wednesday – a day before troops began invading Ukraine – that a Russian state-owned tanker was due to berth at Sullom Voe Terminal for a cargo of crude oil.

A similar tanker was due in at Orkney’s Flotta oil terminal this week but her visit was cancelled as a result.