ABN Amro (the Netherlands)

ABN Amro is a Dutch banking group that serves retail, private and commercial banking customers in the Netherlands and across the globe. The Dutch state acquired ownership of the Dutch activities of ABN Amro Holding N.V. and Fortis Bank Nederland in 2008. ABN Amro Business Unit Netherlands (BU NL) and Fortis Bank Nederland (formerly part of the Dutch-Belgian Fortis Group) merged in 2010 to form the current ABN Amro.[i]

ABN Amro was one of the first mainstream European banks to tackle the cluster munitions issue. In 2004, it released a policy guideline on cluster munitions that said, “We do not invest in or finance controversial weapons like anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions, nuclear weapons or components for these weapons.”[ii]

ABN Amro’s Defence Policy states: “The Exclusion List contains all forms of activity that ABN AMRO excludes from financing and investment, including production of, trade in or distribution of controversial weapons (cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines and nuclear, chemical or biological weapons).”[iii] These companies will not be financed, provided with services or included in ABN Amro’s investments made for own account, investments made on behalf of third parties, discretionary mandates and actively managed funds.[iv]

ABN Amro requires that all its external managers do not offer ABN Amro funds that are constituted for 5% or more by cluster munitions companies, and will terminate the relationship if an external manager does not comply with its policy.[v] This is in line with the Dutch prohibition on direct and demonstrable investments.[1] However, this means that funds following an index and investment funds may still contain the specified percentage of cluster munitions producing companies.[vi]

ABN Amro maintains a Controversial Weapons List, based on the information from data provider Sustainalytics, with companies excluded from investment. This list is not publicly available.[vii]

How to gain a place in the Hall of Fame?

To be listed in the Hall of Fame, ABN Amro should extend its policy to exclude all passively managed funds and all financial products that are managed externally that contain cluster munitions producers.


Sources:

[1] The prohibition contains several exceptions, such as for transactions following an index, when individual companies that produce, sell, or distribute cluster munitions account for less than five per cent of the index. The ban contains a similar exception for transactions in investment funds managed by third parties. This means that funds following an index and investment funds may still contain the specified percentage of cluster munitions producing companies. This exception weakens the prohibition, especially since companies involved in the production of cluster munitions usually do not represent more than 5% in funds that follow an index or investment funds.

[i]       ABN Amro, “Our Company”, ABN Amro website (www.abnamro.com/en/about-abn-amro/our-company/index.html), viewed 1 February 2017; ABN Amro, written response to Profundo dated 23 October 2015.

[ii]       IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen, “Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: a Shared Responsibility”, May 2011, pp. 105-106, available at www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org/uploads/pdf/REPORT%20May%202011%20FINAL.pdf, last viewed 14 March 2017.

[iii]      ABN Amro, “Summary – Defence Policy”, p. 2, available at www.abnamro.com/en/images/Documents/040_Sustainable_banking/070_Sustainability_policy/030_Sector_specific_policy/ABN_AMRO_Defence_Policy_Summary.pdf, last viewed 10 February 2017; ABN Amro, “Defence Policy”, April 2013, p. 2, available at www.abnamro.com/en/images/040_Sustainability/040_Risk_Management/Attachments/Defence_Policy_-_April_2013.pdf, last viewed 1 February 2017.

[iv]      ABN Amro, “Defence Policy”, April 2013, p. 2, available at www.abnamro.com/en/images/040_Sustainability/040_Risk_Management/Attachments/Defence_Policy_-_April_2013.pdf, last viewed 1 February 2017; ABN Amro, written response to Profundo dated 27 May 2014.

[v]      ABN Amro, written response to Profundo dated 28 July 2014; ABN Amro, written response to Profundo dated 28 July 2014; Fondsnieuws, “Franklin Templeton van schap bij ABN Amro” (“ABN Amro no longer offers Franklin Templeton funds”), 6 March 2014, Fondsnieuws website (www.fondsnieuws.nl/nieuws/franklin-templeton-van-schap-bij-abn-amro), viewed 30 September 2015.

[vi]      ABN Amro, written response to Profundo dated 23 October 2015.

[vii]     ABN Amro, written response to Profundo dated 27 May 2014.