HP and Dell removed from Dutch equity fund

Hewlett Packard and Dell have recently been removed from the equity fund of the Dutch ASN Bank. The ASN Bank Special Investment Criteria define which companies are accepted in the ASN Bank equity fund. Companies engaged in or benefiting from war crimes, or the manufacture or trade in arms. Consequently, this also means that ASN Bank will refrain from providing any form of funding for or from investing in companies which are active in the development, manufacture, distribution or trade in arms. “Arms” refers to all types of conventional weapons, ammunition, parts, supporting technologies and associated expertise.

HP and Dell removed from Dutch equity fund

May 2008, Hewlett Packard (HP) took over the American company EDS. EDS is specialising in the delivery of communication technology and IT-infrastructure for military purposes. For example, distantly run espionage and weapon systems. Such activities are in conflict with the Special Investment Criteria of the ASN Bank.

September 2009, Dell took over the American company Perot Systems. This company is part of the Dutch consortium Prognostic Health Management (PHM). This consortium was established to take part in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)-programme. The PHM consortium analyses the live span of materials in order to prevent technical non-conformity and accidents. In its own right the technology offered by PHM is not necessarily military, but in the context of the JSF programme it serves a distinctly military purpose. This is in conflict with the Special Investment Criteria of the ASN Bank.

The special investment criteria and the approach that is o be adopted in relation to them represent an elaboration of ASN Bank’s mission and business principles. They apply in full to ASN Aandelenfonds, ASN Obligatiefonds, ASN Mix-fonds, ASN Small & Midcap Fonds and ASN Bank’s investments with the exception of commercial loans. Given their nature, ASN Milieu & Waterfonds and ASN Bank’s commercial loans are subject to the exclusion criteria at the very least. The Green Project Regulations [Regeling Groenprojecten] apply to ASN Groenprojectenfonds. The 2005 Socially Ethical Project Regulations [Regeling Sociaal-Ethische Projecten] apply to the ASN-Novib Fund. The ASN Bank’s special investment criteria consist of exclusion and acceptance criteria. The exclusion criteria are absolute conditions, which investments have to satisfy. Investments also have to meet the acceptance criteria, but the latter are relative: only those investments which are amongst the best in their category or industry are  included based on the acceptance criteria. A distinction is also drawn between exclusion and acceptance criteria in the case of countries and companies, and between human rights and environmental criteria.

For more information of the Special Investment Criteria of the ASN Bank can be found here (in Dutch).

The ASN Bank annual report 2008 can be found here (in English).