The tensions surrounding recent actions taken by North Korea have reignited the conversation around nuclear weapons and warfare. And since Amalgamated always strives to be responsive to the needs of our customers and the needs of the global community, I found this particular story about one of our customers particularly timely and relevant.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a client who has been performing advocacy work in support of a treaty that was expected to go before the United Nations in late September, calling for a ban on nuclear bombs. As it happens, this customer had come into an inheritance within the last year, and brought his financial statements in for me to review.
He was dismayed that his portfolio holdings included a couple of defense companies involved in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. As a person who had dedicated his life to the anti-war movement, owning these investments was unacceptable. He asked if I could create an investment strategy and portfolio for him that divested from any company whose products have the potential to aid and abet in warfare.
I performed some internal due diligence to determine where we stood on this front, and discovered a few things that attest to the values-based mission of the bank. What I found was; 1. In our Commercial Banking business, we do not currently engage in treasury management for any weapons manufacturers; 2. We do not currently lend any money to these kinds of companies; and 3. The bank does not invest any of its own money into weapons manufacturers. Additionally, when creating their own portfolios, our customers can opt out of investing in any company or industry that does not align with their own values.
Ultimately, I was able to honor my customer’s request and create an investment portfolio that aligned with his principles, allowing him to feel more confident about his investment portfolio not working in opposition of his ideologies. As an added bonus, I was able to sleep a little better knowing that we at Amalgamated Bank are not contributing toward the development of nuclear weapons… or any weaponry for that matter.