How your savings could be invested in firms making deadly weapons banned under international treaty.

Investing in cluster munitions are part of a wider problem. Highlighted in a report by ShareAction, many asset managers have paid scant regard to human rights abuses such as modern slavery and child labour.

Researchers surveyed 75 of the largest asset managers. They found that just 4 per cent had a dedicated human rights policy. One in seven of those polled made no mention at all about human rights in any of their investment policies.

The majority that do mention the topic have few tangible commitments. The research found just under half of those polled (a group controlling a staggering $45 trillion) don’t prohibit investing in controversial weapons banned by international treaties.

Fully 84 per cent of asset managers have nothing in place to prevent them buying bonds issued by regimes implicated in human rights abuses. So there is nothing to stop most fund managers essentially lending savers’ money to a despot or a dictator. As long as their name is not on a list of international sanctions for something like terrorist financing.

This is important because many people do not know which companies and bonds their savings go into. So they rely on the policies of the manager to give confidence that they are investing scrupulously.

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