Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Abbey National outlines investment code

September 2000

The UK’s fifth largest bank has issued a new set of ethical guidelines as a framework for its investment policies.

The Abbey National Group guidelines say the bank should invest its €328billion (£200bn) of general assets in companies that adhere to high standards of corporate governance and ethics and show ‘consideration’ of the social impact of their activities.

In cases where doubts arise as to whether a particular investment is suitable, the group’s risk director will initiate a review of the investment by Abbey’s executive directors.

The bank’s head of public affairs, Joel Feyerherm, said the document had been produced internally after consultation with Amnesty International and the Institute of Business Ethics.

‘It tries to articulate in greater depth exactly how the company invests its assets,’ he said. A statement of ethical principles issued by Abbey last year promised to take environmental factors into account when making investment and lending decisions (EP3, 1999).

Companies that will attract particular attention from Abbey National’s treasury services department, which manages assets derived from mortgages and account balances, are those that:

do not adhere to international human rights treaties and protocols

operate in the defence sector

pose a ‘high degree’ of risk to the environment

produce tobacco or have an adverse affect on public health

involve the mistreatment of animals

produce pornography


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