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A Statement from MMBB CEO Louis P. Barbarin on Russia’s War Against Ukraine

March 21, 2022


Dear MMBB Family,

Russia’s war against Ukraine is now in its fourth week.  The world has watched with great dismay and sadness the increasing destruction to Ukraine and the unnecessary loss of life resulting from Russia’s unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation.  Multiple attempts at a cease fire have been unsuccessful and there has been a blatant disregard for human life as the war intensifies with a focus on civilian regions across the nation.  We are heartened to observe the voices united in condemnation from the U.S., the European Union, the United Nations, and the world, against the aggression by Russia in its attempt to reset the European map and prevent Ukraine from aligning its interest with the European Union.


We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the Ukrainian community in the U.S and across the world and with all of Europe, in calling for an end to the war and the mounting violence and civilian casualties.  We join with General Secretary Dr. C. Jeff Woods, of the American Baptist Churches USA in offering our heartfelt and fervent prayers for a peaceful resolution to this war, as he recently expressed to the entire denomination. We know that many of you share these sentiments as well.

Impact on Global Markets

As expected, civil unrest has a destabilizing effect on world markets and the war on Ukraine has had a significant negative impact on the global economy, which has resulted in substantial uncertainty and volatility across global markets. Sanctions against Russia have targeted Russian oligarchs, Russian airlines, shipping, banking, and steel industries, and Russian sovereign wealth funds. Additionally, seven Russian banks have been removed from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), an international payment messaging system. Russia is no longer included in global equity and fixed income benchmarks and is largely uninvestable.


Globally, Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine has significantly increased energy and food prices, as well as broadened already stressed supply chain problems.  Russia’s brutal actions are also influencing the Federal Reserve’s policy considerations, as the invasion of the Ukraine increased inflationary pressures, while at the same, the invasion has the potential to depress both financial markets and economic activity.

The Impact on MMBB Funds

MMBB’s Investment Office and its investment managers are closely monitoring the global markets and the impact of the war on MMBB’s investment portfolios. MMBB’s exposure to Russian securities was limited to less than 0.30% across all funds prior to the Russian invasion.

Since MMBB’s inception in 1911, MMBB has managed members’ retirement benefits through many global crises and wars. As long-term investors, we maintain discipline and focus, both of which are particularly important in times of crisis. Our ongoing oversight is and remains rigorous and continuous.

Sincerely,

Louis P. Barbarin, CPA
Chief Executive Officer

 

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