Top mutual fund manager Vanguard Group said on Friday it will adhere to international sanctions being imposed on Russia in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but will not restrict the investment decisions of managers of its actively-managed funds.
In a blog post on Friday addressing investments in Russia, Vanguard Chief Investment Officer Greg Davis said that managers of its actively-managed funds “will decide how best to navigate liquidity challenges and balance investment risks with potential rewards.”
Although best known for its passive index funds, the closely-held U.S. firm runs actively-managed funds with about $1.7-trillion in assets, the company said. Total assets were $8.1-trillion as of January 31.
A Vanguard spokeswoman said executives were not immediately available for further comment late Friday.
Vanguard did not give a figure for its total exposure to Russia in its note , but Morningstar data shows its funds had exposure to Russian securities such as the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund.
Many western funds and companies have said they would leave Russia following the invasion, which Moscow terms a “special military action,” including BP, Boeing and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund. On Friday the London Stock Exchange suspended trading in Russian securities.
Financial firms like banks can face obstacles to departure. In its note Vanguard said “Some Russian securities may not be traded because of sanctions restrictions,” and that Russian Central Bank actions have effectively shut off its securities market to foreign investors.
So far the effects on Vanguard funds have been limited, Vanguard said.
Of U.S.-domiciled Vanguard funds, index funds account for about 80 per cent of the exposure to Russia and Ukraine. Funds invested in Russia and or Ukraine had about 1 per cent of assets there, on average. Russian stocks and bonds made up “most of the modest exposure,” Vanguard said.
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