Swedbank is a Swedish financial institution serving 7 million private customers and 600,000 corporate and institutional customers. Swedbank also has operations in Norway, Finland, Denmark, the US, China, Luxembourg and South Africa and the Baltic countries.[i] As of the end 2015, Swedbank held SEK 1090 billion (€114 billion) assets under management.[ii]
Swedbank’s Position Paper on Defence Equipment states: “Swedbank applies a zero tolerance principle for financial services to customers belonging to a Group that is manufacturing, modernising, selling or buying nuclear weapons.”[iii] If a company decides to get involved in nuclear weapons, Swedbank does not terminate existing loan contracts. However, a renewal of loans falls under the restrictions of the Position Paper and is not allowed.[iv] Swedbank Robur, Swedbank’s asset management arm, has implemented a policy that prohibits investment in nuclear weapon producers (developing, manufacturing, modernizing, maintaining, selling or buying nuclear weapons).[v]
Swedbank also divests from investment holdings in nuclear weapon producers.[vi] The policy applies to all assets managed, except for investments made on behalf of third parties.[vii] Swedbank Robur has decided to also exclude nuclear weapon producers from index funds and has therefore applied for a new fund prospectus for the index funds through the authorities (Finansinspektionen).[viii] Swedbank Robur mainly works with internal asset managers. External managers are informed of Swedbanks policies but not systematically and they are not forced to implement them.[ix]
Swedbank Robur’s published exclusion list as of May 2016 contains 18 companies for involvement with nuclear weapons: Aerojet Rocketdyne, Airbus; Babcock International; Babcock & Wilcox; BAE Systems; Finmeccanica; Fluor Corporation; General Dynamics; Honeywell International; GenCorp[x]; Honeywell International; Jacobs Engineering; L-3 Communications Holdings; Motovilikhinskiye Zavody; Northrop Grumman; Raytheon; Safran; Serco; Textron and United Technologies.[xi] The list is based on information from external research providers Global Engagement Services (GES) and Ethix SRI Advisors.[xii]
We commend Swedbank for adopting a public policy on nuclear weapons. We welcome the decision by Swedbank to divest from investment holdings in nuclear weapon producers and to start excluding nuclear weapon producers from index funds. We recommend Swedbank apply its policy to all financial products including third party investments and external asset managers, and terminate existing loan contracts with nuclear weapon producers. We look forward to engaging with Swedbank, so a strong and comprehensively applied policy may be listed in the Hall of Fame in a future update of this report.
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I saw on www.dontbankonthebomb.com that you have a policy limiting investments in nuclear weapons. I think it’s really important that you share my concern about these weapons, and I appreciate that there is a public policy.
However, the policy does have some loopholes and the Don’t Bank on the Bomb report shows how you still might invest in nuclear weapons producers. I am concerned about this, because Swedbank also invests my money and I don’t want to be associated in any way with the production of these inhumane weapons.
It would be great if Swedbank made the following changes to make the policy airtight:
• Apply the policy to all financial products including third party investments and external asset managers;
• Terminate existing loan contracts with nuclear weapon producers.
With kind regards,
[ii] Swedbank, “Annual Report 2015”, p.182, available at h https://www.swedbank.com/idc/groups/public/@i/@sbg/@gs/@ir/documents/financial/cid_1972619.pdf, viewed 30 October 2016
[iii] Swedbank, “Position Paper – Defence Equipment”, website Swedbank (http://www.swedbank.com/corporate-sustainability/human-rights/position-on-defence-equipment/index.htm), viewed 14 June 2016.
[iv] Swedbank, written response to Profundo dated 27 May 2014.
[v] Swedbank, “Annual Report 2014”, p.177, available at https://www.swedbank.com/idc/groups/public/@i/@sbg/@gs/@ir/documents/financial/cid_2005852.pdf, viewed 30 October 2016; Swedbank, written response to PAX dated 30 April 2015.
[vi] Swedbank, written response to Profundo dated 27 May 2014.
[vii] Swedbank, “Position Paper – Defence Equipment”, website Swedbank (http://www.swedbank.com/corporate-sustainability/human-rights/position-on-defence-equipment/index.htm), viewed 30 October 2015.
[viii] Swedbank, written response to PAX dated 30 April 2015.
[ix] Swedbank Robur, written response to Profundo dated 27 May 2014.
[x] GenCorp renamed itself in 2015 and is now known as Aerojet Rocketdyne.
[xi] Swedbank Robur, “Exclusion List”, May 2016, available at https://www.swedbank.com/idc/groups/public/@i/@sc/@all/@gs/@com/documents/article/cid_2035350.pdf, viewed 30 October 2016.
[xii]Swedbank Robur, written response to Profundo dated 27 May 2014.