Campaign group Make My Money Matter has called on pension schemes to divest from Russia.
Following on from major pension schemes confirming their divestment from Russia, the campaign group is calling on remaining UK pension schemes to follow suit and decrease their exposure to Russia’s economy.
According to Make My Money Matter, the British public is overwhelmingly in favour of this move, with 86 per cent believing that UK pension funds should not be invested in Russia.
Make My Money Matter CEO Tony Burdon says: “Our pensions are invested in Russian companies and Russian government debt. We believe this is morally wrong and financially unsustainable in the current climate. And the British public agrees, with 86 per cent saying they don’t believe UK pensions should be invested in Russia.
“That’s why we’re calling on all pension providers to divest from their Russian investment as soon as possible. In doing so, the financial sector can display moral leadership, sound financial management, and help protect the savings of UK pension holders.”
Nest, Aviva, Phoenix Group and LGIM are among some of the companies reviewing their investment in Russia and looking to exit when possible.
Nest CEO Helen Dean says: “In view of the situation in Ukraine, we’ll be removing all our investment in Russian government bonds and Russian companies as soon as possible.”
An Aviva spokesperson says: “Aviva’s direct exposure to Russia is negligible. We will be exiting from Russian investments as soon as we can. We will work with our clients on any investment changes they wish to make. It is important to remember that pensions are designed to be a medium to long-term investment. Stock markets, by their nature, can experience periods of volatility but if pension customers have any questions or concerns, we recommend seeking financial advice before making any changes.”
A Phoenix Group spokesperson says: “The investment exposure to Russia and Ukraine for Phoenix Group customers is limited and is less than 0.2 per cent of our assets under administration. We are in active dialogues with our asset management partners on behalf of our Policyholders to understand their exposures and the actions they are taking to manage the risks and deliver on our customer commitments.
“Within our £45bn Shareholder book we are reviewing our exposure of c.0.1 percentage points and where possible will look to divest from these assets, in due course. All of these transactions will be subject to Phoenix Group’s and our Asset Management Partner’s compliance with any applicable regulatory restrictions, including sanctions.”
An LGIM spokesperson says: “LGIM has already where possible, reduced our clients’ exposure to Russian securities. Opportunities to de-risk positions in sanctioned Russian companies have been limited, and given that the market is now effectively frozen for foreign investors, we continue to monitor the situation and reduce holdings if and when market conditions allow.
“Our total exposure to Russia is small; approximately 0.1 per cent of our assets under management. This is mainly held through index funds and ETFs and we are actively working with the major index providers to confirm Russia’s future role in global indices.”