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World’s leading banks invest in cluster bomb producers

Activists call on financial institutions and governments to ban explosive investments
By Fairfin | Brussels, Jun 14 2012

Worldwide, 137 private and public financial institutions continue to invest almost US$43 billion into producers of banned cluster munitions. Leading financial investors and loan providers include: Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and China Merchants Bank.

The detail and extent of global explosive investments is shown in the 2012 report: “Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions; a shared responsibility”. The report by IKV Pax Christi (the Netherlands) and FairFin (Belgium), was released today in Berlin, to put pressure on Germany and other governments to legislate against these kinds of explosive investments.

Like landmines, cluster munitions are banned under international law because they kill indiscriminately. The report looks at financial investments into a short list of companies known for production of cluster munitions. These include : Alliant Techsystems (USA), Hanwha (South Korea), Lockheed Martin (USA), Norinco (China), Poongsan (South Korea), Singapore Technologies Engineering (Singapore), Splav (Russia), and Textron (USA).

Although many states and financial institutions have spoken out against these investments, the worldwide study shows that in the last three years financial institutions:

•     provided loans for a total of at least US$4.1 billion;

•     provided investment banking services worth a total of at least US$8.1 billion; and

•     owned or managed shares and bonds for at least US$30.4 billion.

“After all the financial scandals, crisis and promises to act in a more responsible and transparent way, it is a disgrace that financial institutions continue to invest in banned weapons,” said Roos Boer, co-author of the report for IKV Pax Christi (the Netherlands). “Investing in banned weapons is ethically unacceptable and it is time for governments and banks to ban these explosive investments,”  she added.

The majority of the financial institutions that invest in cluster munition producers is from countries that have not yet joined the international treaty which bans cluster bombs. Also of concern, the report demonstrates that there are still 27 financial institutions from countries which have joined the convention that still invest in cluster munition producers.

As well as a “Hall of Shame”, the report also includes examples of good company and national practice. In the “Hall of Fame” and “runners-up” category, 56 financial institutions are credited for disinvesting from cluster munition producers, This is up from 47 last year.

Financial institutions with a comprehensive policy to disinvest from cluster munition producers are listed in the Hall of Fame. Newcomers in the 2012 report’s Hall of Fame include: the Australian Future Fund, the Luxembourg Compensation Fund, SNS REAAL (the Netherlands) and WestLB (Germany). These financial institutions exclude all financial links to cluster munition producers.

The runners-up lists financial institutions with disinvestment policies, but which still have some loopholes in their policy. Newcomers in this year’s runners-up category include:  AEGON (the Netherlands), Aviva (United Kingdom), Intesa Sanpaolo (Italy), Lloyds Banking Group (United Kingdom), Société Générale (France), and Royal Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom).

All the positive examples are from financial institutions based in countries which have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). “We see that more and more financial institutions are starting to disinvest from cluster munition producers,” said Stijn Suijs, co-author of the report for FairFin (Belgium), “But we are still seeing too many loopholes in company policies that should be closed because clients do not want their money to go to cluster munitions”, he added.

The report also gives insight to the new and unprecedented development of states legislating against investments in cluster munitions. Most recently Italy was added to the list of states that introduced legislation to ban (forms of) investment in these weapons. At the moment, 5 countries have such legislation in place: Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, and New Zealand. In 2012 draft legislation was tabled in the Netherlands and Switzerland furthermore. 21 other states that signed the CCM did not legislate (yet) but did make their view clear that they consider investments to be prohibited by the Convention.

The report is launched in Germany where activists in Munich and Berlin are calling for disinvestment today. Two major German financial institutions (Allianz and Deutsche Bank) are mentioned in the report for their investments in cluster munition producers. Germany has no legislation to ban investments in cluster munitions yet.

“We call upon Germany to legislate against investments in cluster munitions and provide clear guidelines for financial institutions. If countries around Germany like Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and in the near future Switzerland and the Netherlands can do it, so can Germany”, said Boer.

The report was commissioned, written and edited by IKV Pax Christi and FairFin, who commissioned economic research consultancy Profundo (the Netherlands) to find data for the Hall of Shame section of the report.



IKV Pax Christi (English):

FairFin (English):



•     Cluster munitions are large weapons which are deployed from the air and from the ground and release dozens or hundreds of smaller submunitions. Submunitions released by air-dropped cluster bombs are most often called “bomblets,” while those delivered from the ground by artillery or rockets are usually referred to as “grenades.”

•     37 countries and territories are known to be affected by cluster munitions from use in armed conflict: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Chechnya, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Falklands/Malvinas, Georgia, Grenada, Iraq, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Mauritania, Montenegro, Mozambique, Nagorno-Karabakh, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand Uganda, Vietnam, Western Sahara, Zambia, Yemen.

•     18 countries have used cluster munitions: Colombia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Israel, Libya, Morocco, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Former Yugoslavia (Serbia), Sudan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States.


•     On August 1st, 2010, the Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force and became binding under international law. As of May 2012, 111 countries had signed the Convention and 71 had ratified. 

•     The Convention bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of clustermunitions. The international Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) and an increasing number of countries

•     interpret the prohibition on assistance with the production/development of cluster munitions as described in Article 1(1)c as a ban on investments.



•     IKV Pax Christi (the Netherlands) and FairFin (formerly Netwerk Vlaanderen, Belgium) published the first report on “Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: a Shared Responsibility” in October 2009. It was the first comprehensive state-of-the-art report on financial institutions' investment in companies that develop or produce cluster munitions, on financial institutions disinvesting from producers of cluster munitions and on states banning investments in cluster munitions. The research for the Hall of Shame in this report was done by economic research consultancy Profundo (the Netherlands). Updates of the report appeared in April 2010 and May 2011. This edition, dated June 2012, updates the earlier reports.

•     “Worldwide investments in cluster munitions; a Shared Responsibility” highlights good practices of financial institutions and countries that disinvest, and provides information on financial institutions that are still investing in cluster munitions.

•     The top 5 investors in producers in cluster munitions mentioned in the 2012 report (in millions of USD) are:

•     Investment Banking Services: Citigroup (USA) 1065.6, JP Morgan Chase (USA) 1065.6, Bank of America (USA) 704.6, Morgan Stanley (USA) 450.3, China Merchants Bank (China) 335.3, Goldman Sachs (USA) 325.9

•     Loan providers: Bank of America (USA) 355, Sberbank (Russia) 320, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (Japan) 295, JP Morgan Chase (USA) 290, Citigroup (USA) 255

•          Asset management: State Street (USA) 5,423.5, Capital Group (USA) 5,116.4, Temasek Holdings (Singapore) 3,970.6, BlackRock (USA) 1,895.7, Sun Life Financial (Canada) 1,572.7. 


Samantha Bolton + 41 79 2392366,

Fairfin Website

Allianz is a German multinational financial services company headquartered in Munich. It is among the top insurance providers and asset managers in the world. Its investment…

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