Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) is an UK-centred bank with its headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland, it serves 24 million personal, business and institutional customers across the globe.[i] At the end of 2015, RBS held USD13,9 billion in assets under management.[ii]

RBS’ 2014 Defence Sector Policy Summary states: “Financing of companies involved in the manufacture, sale, trade, broking, service or stockpiling of […] nuclear weapons or the bespoke components of such weapons” and the “trade of weaponry (e.g. bombs, missiles, rockets, guns, ammunition) and equipment designed to enable the transport, deployment, execution or performance of a weapon (e.g. aircraft carriers, weapon platforms)” are restricted. This means that companies engaged in these activities are not necessarily excluded but “undergo enhanced due diligence including review by a reputational risk forum or approver and annual evaluation.”[iii] In addition, RBS does not exclude entire companies but only restricts financing of certain activities related to nuclear weapons.[iv]

The policy covers RBS’ lending and investment banking operations. However, its asset management activities, including investments made on its own account, investments made on behalf of third parties, discretionary mandates, actively managed funds and passively managed funds are not covered by the policy.[v]

RBS screens its customers for compliance with the policy so it can terminate all services for which it has no binding contractual agreements. Where there are contractual agreements, it will honour the contract’s provisions but will provide no additional services. RBS has identified clients who are in breach of their policy, but does not make this information publicly available.[vi]

RBS was also found to have several investments in nuclear weapon producing companies identified by this report, more information can be found in the Hall of Shame.

We commend RBS for adopting a public policy on nuclear weapons. We recommend RBS exclude all activities of nuclear weapons producing companies . Moreover, RBS should apply its exclusion policy to all financial products including assets managed and should terminate existing investments in nuclear weapons associated companies currently in its portfolio. We look forward to engaging with RBS, so a strong and comprehensively applied policy may be listed in the Hall of Fame in a future update of this report.

RBC has a leaky policy on nuclear weapons; send them a message and tell them to fix it!

To send RBS a message, please go to this contact form:

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You can write your own message, or copy this message into the contact form.

Congratulations Royal Bank of Scotland. I saw on 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 RBS 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 RBS made the following changes to make the policy airtight:
• Exclude all activities of nuclear weapons producing companies;
• Apply the exclusion policy to all financial products including assets managed;
• Terminate existing investments in nuclear weapons associated companies currently in its portfolio.

With kind regards,

Or :

Tweet: Even @RBSGroup knows investing in #nuclear weapons should be restricted. Strengthen the policy & say #goodbyenukes!


Website: Twitter: Facebook: @RBSGroup


[i] RBS, “About Us”, website RBS (, viewed 30 October 2016.

[ii] RBC, “Annual Report 2015”, page 110, available at, viewed 30 October 2016.

[iii] RBS, Environmental, Social and Ethical Risk Policy Summary Defence Sector”, 20 August 2014, p.1-2, available at, viewed 30 October 2016.

[iv]     RBS, written response to PAX dated 8 May 2015.

[v]     RBS, written response to PAX dated 8 May 2015.

[vi]     RBS, written response to FairFin dated 24 April 2012.


Who divests?

Policy Research

The financial institutions presented all have publicly available policies – or summaries thereof – excluding investments in nuclear weapons producing companies. Since the banking group usually sets the investment policy and since the group directly or indirectly supervises its subsidiaries, we research the group policy only.

The Hall of Fame section highlights financial institutions that have comprehensive policies preventing investments in nuclear weapon producers. These policies meet all of the criteria.
The Runners-Up provides information on existing policies and makes recommendations for how to strengthen them.


Hall of Fame finanical institution policies policy must:

1. Exclude all nuclear weapon associated companies

The policy excludes:

  • whole companies not only nuclear weapons related projects
  • companies associated with nuclear weapons including through joint ventures
  • companies regardless of their country of origin
  • companies regardless their country of operation

2. Exclude all nuclear weapon associated activities

The policy excludes companies associated with:

  • development, testing, production, maintenance or trade of nuclear weapons related technology, parts, products or services, and;
  • delivery systems such as missiles, that are specifically developed for nuclear tasks. This includes technology that is designed for ‘dual use’ (military and civilian) but excludes technology that is not designed for, but can be used in nuclear warfare. It does not include delivery platforms such as bombers and submarines.

3. Apply to all the institution’s products and services

The institution applies the policy:

  • for the entire Group, including subsidiaries
  • in all markets
  • to all asset management classes – passive and active, internal and external.
  • to all existing and future investments.

The financial institutions in the Hall of Fame have not engaged in any financial relationships with any of the nuclear weapon associated companies listed in this report. The policies of over 80 financial institutions were analysed for this report.

Runners-Up are financial institutions whose nuclear weapons policy does not meet all of the above criteria .


To identify financial institutions with a policy on nuclear weapons, we research a variety of sources: NGO reports, screening-agency information, financial institution reports and websites, information from campaigners and other public sources. For practical reasons, the scope of this report is limited to those financial institutions that have an investment policy or a summary of that policy in English. The list of institutions in the Hall of Fame is not exhaustive. We welcome additions from those able to provide them.

For the purposes of this report, nuclear weapon producers are defined as companies that produce key components to test, develop, maintain, modernise and deploy nuclear weapons. There are countless companies involved in the broad nuclear weapons complex, and this report only details those most heavily involved in the production and maintenance of nuclear warheads and their delivery systems (such as missiles and launch tubes). The report does not include companies involved in the production of delivery platforms (such as nuclear capable bombers and submarines).

In advance of this report, all financial institutions not previously reported on were asked to fill in a standardised questionnaire with detailed questions on the scope and content of their policies. Financial institutions that did not respond are not included. Of the financial institutions listed in the Hall of Fame, several publish a list of companies that they exclude from their investment universe. The companies excluded are listed in the profiles of the financial institutions as a resource. Some financial institutions in the Hall of Fame work with an inclusion list rather than an exclusion list, while others do not make their lists public.

Each financial institution profile in the Hall of Fame includes a brief description of the institution, a summary of key policy elements, and the exclusion list if applicable. We researched investments in companies on our producers list for each of the financial institutions listed in the Hall of Fame. None of the financial institutions listed in the Hall of Fame invest in any of the 27 identified nuclear weapon producers.