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Robeco to exclude tobacco investments from all mutual funds

Money manager Robeco will exclude tobacco investments from its mutual funds, relating to divesting about €129 million ($159 million) in assets, said a spokeswoman.

The €161 billion money manager already excludes tobacco from its sustainable strategies. This policy is being extended to mainstream and subadvised strategies. It does not apply to client-specific separate accounts. The spokeswoman said the value of tobacco stocks represents about 0.22% of Robeco's mutual funds, not of total assets under management.

"The tobacco industry is increasingly seen as socially disadvantageous," said a news release by the firm. While the firm takes its role as a shareholder seriously and actively engages with companies it invests in, "engagement with the tobacco industry will not lead to fundamental change."

The exclusion applies to all listed companies involved in the production of tobacco or of significant components of cigarettes. The stocks can be sold over a period of time and will be completed by the end of the third quarter.

"Given the significant international concerns about the risks posed by tobacco and in view of recent developments, such as the UN Global Compact's decision (to exclude tobacco companies from participating in its work), we think the time is ripe for excluding tobacco," said Peter Ferket, head of investments at Robeco, in the release.