The State of Michigan now holds $72 million of Tesla stock for state retirement funds. That would be the same State of Michigan that still bans Tesla from selling vehicles using a direct sales model without dealerships.
According to a report by The Detroit News, the Michigan Department of Treasury increased its shares in Tesla by $48 million in June, which is a funny thing considering the state has passed legislature, backed by General Motors, banning Tesla from selling its cars in the State of Michigan.
From the report:
The Michigan Department of Treasury bought about $48 million of Tesla Motors Inc. stock for state retirement funds in the second quarter, increasing its shares 224 percent in the electric-car builder that is banned from selling cars here.
The retirement funds owned 104,821 shares of Tesla as of March 30. By the end of June they had 339,623 shares worth $72 million, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
The Treasury department’s Bureau of Investments oversees investment of more than $60 billion in the State of Michigan Retirement Systems. That includes four systems: the Michigan Public School Employees’ Retirement System, Michigan State Employees’ Retirement System, Michigan State Police Retirement System and Michigan Judges Retirement System.
The Treasury doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with investing in the company that is legally barred from operating within its borders using a direct sales method, citing that the $72 million in Tesla stock is “only” 0.12 percent of its $60 billion retirement fund portfolio.
A Treasury spokesperson said in an email that all investment decisions are made by a team of portfolio managers that are independent of state regulatory agencies.
While there’s nothing strictly speaking “wrong” about Michigan securing retirement funding for state employees by investing in Tesla’s stock, it’s sadly ironic that the State wont allow a company it has a financial interest in to actually operate within its borders.
Meanwhile, Tesla claims it has approximately 600 owners in Michigan that have to travel out of state to have their vehicles properly serviced. It has also applied for a dealership license in Michigan despite maintaining that it would do everything it could to secure a direct sales model.
The Detroit News aptly points out that “investment experts say the state is looking into the future and for the best return.”
Too bad that future isn’t actually in Michigan.
Via Automotive News
Editor’s note: Text has been clarified to indicate that Tesla is only legally restricted from using the direct sales method in Michigan, and could still sell vehicles in the state under different means.