Published on February 3rd, 2011
New Credit Suisse policy furthers Swiss disinvestment in cluster bombs
In November 2010, Credit Suisse introduced a new policy on investment in companies that will exclude producers of landmines and cluster munitions from its credit, investment banking and asset management activities.
“Credit Suisse should be commended for this strong new policy that puts civilian lives ahead of profits at all costs,” said Paul Vermeulen, director of Handicap International Switzerland, a CMC member organisation that has campaigned very actively on disinvestment in recent years. “Funding companies that produce landmines and cluster munitions is not just ‘business as usual,’ and other banks should follow suit and disinvest from these companies.”
In a 15 November 2010 letter to Handicap International Switzerland, Credit Suisse announced it is “in the process of terminating any existing business relationship with any producers of such weapons.” Under the new policy, Credit Suisse will “cease to hold securities of producers of antipersonnel landmines or cluster munitions in its proprietary trading book or to include them in its actively managed retail and institutional funds and in discretionary mandates” and “refrain from issuing research recommendations on such companies.” Only one exception is made: the bank does not exclude producers of cluster munitions from the index funds it offers.
The Credit Suisse policy is much stronger than a similar policy issued in May 2010 by another large Swiss bank, UBS (www.stopexplosiveinvestments.org/UBS-stops-funding-cluster-bomb-producers). The UBS policy only encompasses asset management and does not cover the bank’s credit and investment banking activities, which campaigners say is a major loophole.
The Swiss government has started the consultation process for the ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Two motions have been voted in both Chambers of parliament in 2009 and 2010 in favour of a total ban on the financing of production of cluster munitions. The draft law circulated proposes to ban only direct funding, which is less than what the motions ask for.
The new Credit Suisse policy is available here:https://www.credit-suisse.com/citizenship/en/banking/sector_policies.jsp