NETHERLANDS – Pensions industry lobbying groups have called on Dutch authorities to compile a national 'exclusion' list of companies that manufacture cluster munitions.
In a letter to finance minister Jan Kees de Jager, lobby groups Eumedion and Dufas said they supported the cluster-munitions investment ban – scheduled to come into effect from 1 January 2013 – but questioned its feasibility.
They pointed out that the precise legal wording and scope of the ban had not yet been published, leaving institutional investors uncertain to which manufacturers the ban would apply.
"As a result, institutional investors can't sufficiently prepare for the ban," they argued, arguing that proper preparation would entail an often manual screening of all asset management mandates and funds investments, including indices.
They also criticised a "large grey area" caused by differing interpretations and exclusion lists drawn up by external service providers, as well as a lack of information about non-listed companies.
They concluded that the best solution for institutional investors would be a government-approved list – compiled by the Treasury or the financial markets authority AFM – of banned manufacturers.
They also called on the minister to publish the legal wording of the ban as soon as possible, and grant investors three months' leeway after its publication.
Further, they called for transitional legislation to allow investors to terminate their existing investments within a reasonable period.
Eumedion is the platform for institutional investors on corporate governance and sustainability.
Dufas is the representative organisation for Dutch asset managers and investment institutions.