Bank investments in nuclear weapons

On March 7th 2018, PAX, a member of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), launched its latest ‘Don’t Bank On the Bomb’ report, reviewing the financing of the nuclear weapons industry by global financial institutions. The report names and shames those that are still okay with trying to make a profit from producing nuclear weapons.

Corporate investments in nuclear weapons

The report found that 329 financial institutions had invested $525 billion in the top 20 nuclear weapons producers such as BAE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Serco between January 2014 and October 2017.

The financing provided by the institutions could be loans, investment banking or ownership of more than 0.5% of the shares of at least one of the producing companies.

Hall of Fame

22 institutions were listed in the Hall of Fame for having a policy that excluded all types of investments in nuclear weapons companies (withdrawing past investments and avoiding future investments).

Of all the banks covered in these guides, only Triodos and The Co-operative Bank appeared in the Hall of Fame.

In our guides

The financial institutions listed as runners-up and those in the Hall of Shame receive a full mark in the Arms & Military Supply column on the score tables in our product guides.


41 financial institutions were listed as ‘runners-up’ because they have publicly available policies that exclude nuclear weapon producers from their investments, but their policies contain loopholes that still allow for some investments. They have all expressed a shared understanding that involvement in nuclear weapons production is at least controversial. However, the loopholes have allowed some sizeable investments. Indeed, Barclays is one of the biggest investors in Europe.

The runners-up include five institutions in our finance guides:

   $ millions 
BNP Paribas (part owns Impax fund)  8601
Barclays 7911
Royal Bank of Scotland 3657
Aegon 228
Danske Bank 226

(Ranked by total finance made available to nuclear weapons companies)

Hall of Shame

288 institutions were listed by PAX in the Hall of Shame for not having any policies prohibiting investments in nuclear weapons.

24 of these institutions were covered in these guides:

    $ millions  
Blackrock (owns 5% of Prudential  38,381
Capital Group (owns 10% of Prudential)  36,739
Citigroup (Citibank) 16,489
Life Insurance Corporation of India (part owns ICICI Bank) 4291
AXA 3804
Janus Henderson 3505
HSBC 3302
Lloyds Banking Group 2686
Santander 1962
Old Mutual (also part owns Kent Reliance) 1686
ICICI Bank 1551
AIG Group (Chartis) 1298
Allianz 1035
Legal & General 933
Prudential 674
BMO Financial (F&C Fund) 548
Fidelity International 387
Standard Life Aberdeen 302
Aviva 252
Jupiter Fund Management 160
Munich RE 148
Banco de Sabadell (TSB) 56
Bank of Ireland (Post Office) 35
Covea 9

(Ranked by total finance made available to nuclear weapons companies)

Three of the 20 nuclear weapons producing companies

Serco (UK) is part of the joint venture AWE-ML, which runs the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment which is responsible for manufacturing and maintaining Trident nuclear warheads for the UK arsenal, as well as developing the new nuclear warhead, Mark4A.

BAE Systems (UK) is involved in the nuclear weapons programmes of France, the UK and the US. It produces key components for Trident II (D5) missiles for the US and UK nuclear arsenals. It also produces US Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) systems. BAE Systems is also part of the MBDA joint venture and provides nuclear armed air-to-surface missiles for France.

Boeing (USA) is contracted to help keep the Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles operational in the US nuclear arsenal until 2030. Boeing will also be producing the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent system for the US, designed to replace the Minuteman III system. Boeing is also producing the guided tail kit for the new B61-12 US nuclear gravity bomb. In addition, Boeing also has contracts for key components for US and UK Trident II (D5) nuclear weapons.

Become a subscriber today

Ethics made easy - comprehensive, simple to use, transparent and reliable ethical rankings. A wealth of data at your fingertips.

Only £29.95 for 12 months web access and the print magazine. Cancel via phone or email within 30 days for a full, no-questions-asked refund!

Start your subscription - find out more