Facebook Should Be Dropped by Sustainable Funds, Nordea Says (Bloomberg)

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Facebook Inc. should be excluded from the holdings of money managers serious about ethical investing, says the head of sustainable funds at the biggest Nordic bank.

Sasja Beslik, who oversees sustainable finance within Nordea Bank AB’s $370 billion asset management unit, decided this week to divest holdings of the social networking giant. The move was provoked by what he characterized as an “unresponsive” approach by Facebook to Nordea’s queries on how the Cambridge Analytica scandal was being handled.

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“A company of this size with this type of risk related to their business should have been far more responsive and pro-active in the way they respond to investor requirements,” Beslik said. Not “a single serious sustainable fund in the world” should have a holding in Facebook, he added, citing the lack of feedback and Nordea’s own investigation.

While so-called socially responsible investing has become one of the fastest growing segments of the money-management industry, its practitioners have typically focused on industries that pose a threat to the environment or public health, from coal to guns to tobacco. It’s far less common for a fund manager to publicly call out a big tech firm over governance or privacy concerns.

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Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc (‘Aviva’), has been awarded ‘A+’ and ‘A’ ratings by the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the world’s leading proponent of responsible investing, as part of the organisation’s 2020 Assessment Reports for signatories.

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