Pension providers under pressure to slash Russian exposure


Campaign groups are now ramping up pressure on pension providers to accelerate the disposal of their Russian assets

Pressure is growing on the UK’s biggest pension and insurance fund managers to slash their Russian exposure, after Aviva became the latest firm to commit to dumping its Russian investments today.

Aviva said it had ‘very minimal exposure’ to Russia – understood to be worth around £240m of its total investor funds under management – and boss Amanda Blanc said the firm would looking to dispose of the investments as soon as it ‘practically can’.

The announcement from Aviva followed a commitment from the £22bn state-backed Nest pension scheme on Monday that it would drop its Russian investments which make up around 0.1 per cent of its investments.

Nest’s boss Helen Dean said the firm would be removing cash in Russian government bonds and companies as soon as possible, and the scheme’s chief investment officer doubled down yesterday, describing Russian investments as a ‘no-go’.

Campaign groups are now ramping up pressure on other pension providers to accelerate the disposal of their Russian assets.

Tony Burdon, CEO at Make My Money Matter which has campaigned for cleaner pension fund investments said it was calling on all pension providers to slash their exposure to Russia.

We believe this is morally and financially unsustainable in the current climate, and goes against the prevailing mood of the UK public, he said.

He said: That’s why we’re encouraging all pension providers to urgently assess and reduce their exposure to Russian investments. In doing so, the financial sector can do the right thing, while at the same time helping protect the security of UK pension holders.

A Royal London spokesperson said the firm was also now assessing its investments in light of Russian aggression.

We are currently looking at the extent of Russian exposure across our portfolios – in terms of direct exposure, but also Russian companies listed in other markets, companies with significant revenues derived from Russia, and companies with Russian cross-holdings, the spokesperson said.

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