Fidelity Investments said it didn’t sell 91% of its holdings in PetroChina, which invests in government-sponsored oil projects in Sudan, to appease activists, The Boston Globe reports.
The individual managers of the funds holding the security made the decision on their own, said Anne Crowley, a spokeswoman for Fidelity. The situation in Darfur “is a matter to be properly resolved by the governments of the world and the United Nations,” Crowley said, “and we truly hope they will do what is right.”
Nonetheless, filings also show that Fidelity sold shares in another Chinese oil firm doing business in the region, Sinopec.
David Rubenstein, executive director of the Save Darfur Coalition, said the fund giant “appears to be making a genuine effort to financially separate from PetroChina” but that it remains to be seen whether Fidelity switched its shares to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Human rights groups have pressured fund companies for at least two decades to take a political stance on their holdings, starting with apartheid in South Africa. Most recently, the call has been on global warming and gay marriage.
Despite Fidelity’s statement, John Bonnanzio, editor of a newsletter for Fidelity investors, said it appears that the company did, indeed, heed the activists’ call. “It would certainly be an extraordinary coincidence for them to have sold these shares otherwise,” Bonnanzio said.