86% of people do not want retirement savings funding Russia, say campaigners

Make My Money Matter commissioned a survey this week to find people’s views about pensions investments.

04 March 2022

Some 86% of people believe UK pensions should not be invested in Russia, a survey carried out for a campaign group has found.

The survey of 2,000 people across the UK was carried out for Make My Money Matter, an organisation co-founded by filmmaker Richard Curtis.

The group is urging UK pension schemes to stop investing in Russia, and to divest from their Russian investments as soon as possible.

The Church of England Pensions Board recently instructed managers to exit direct holdings in Russian companies.

Asset manager abrdn – formed from the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management – has already cut its exposure to Russia in recent weeks and declared it uninvestable for the foreseeable future.

Hedge fund Man Group also previously said it had sold out nearly completely from Russia and Ukraine before Christmas on fears over rising tensions and sanctions.

And Helen Dean, CEO of pension provider Nest said this week: “In view of the situation in Ukraine, we’ll be removing all our investment in Russian government bonds and Russian companies as soon as possible.”

The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Advisory Board in England and Wales posted a statement on its website on Monday advising any LGPS funds who are not already doing so to consider the implications for their investment portfolios in the light of events in Ukraine.

Earlier this week the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) said schemes are currently assessing the levels of any direct or indirect holdings they have in their investment portfolios, taking action to comply with the UK sanctions and considering whether to enact any exclusion policies they have in place.

The PLSA, which represents schemes collectively providing retirement incomes to more than 30 million UK savers, said UK pension schemes will typically have an extremely low level of direct investment in Russia.

Make My Money Matter has set up a template on its website which pension holders can use to ask schemes to cut their exposure to Russia.

Tony Burdon, chief executive at Make My Money Matter, said: “We’re calling on all pension providers to divest from their Russian investment as soon as possible. In doing so, the financial sector can display moral leadership, sound financial management and help protect the savings of UK pension holders.”

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