State Street Global Advisors has announced its divestment of tobacco and controversial weapons shares in its State Street Global Index Plus Trust.
Effective from 31 July, the Index Plus Trust has stripped 12 companies from its investment universe, several of which had business activities that involved tobacco, cluster bomb creation, landmines and chemical, biological and depleted uranium weapons, according to a statement.
The divestment of these shares was due to “demand from the fund’s institutional investors” that it could still meet objectives without the presence of the companies.
There is growing momentum worldwide of investors adopting environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into their portfolios, the statement said.
“We are keen to make ethical investing more accessible to all institutional investors, not just the very large ones able to utilise a separate mandate,” said SSGA Asia-Pacific head of portfolio strategists Jonathan Shead.
“Our analysis suggests that removing these companies from the fund won’t affect its level of diversification at the country or sector level and that investors will continue to get the broad market exposure they are seeking.”
Following the divestment, the fund still holds approximately 620 companies.
As of 31 March, SSGA holds US$182 billion in ESG assets under management.
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