Board Chairman letter

Copy,paste and adapt to make it personal

Dear Chairman,

I believe it is your responsibility to ensure that the affairs of (insert name of bank) are conducted to the highest ethical business standards. As a customer and/or shareholder I wish to know whether the bank is funding enterprises involved in the production or distribution of arms. If it is, I ask that you, in your position as Chairman, ensure that any such investment is in future discontinued on ethical grounds, rather than merely ensuring compliance with present legislation and government guidelines. The Cooperative Bank seems to manage well enough without investing in arms.

Yours sincerely,

(customer/share holder)

Names and Addresses (major high street banks)

  • Philip Hampton, Chairman of the Board, Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, EH2 2YB. (National Westminster Bank is a part of the RBS group)
  • Sir David Walker, Chairman of the Board, Barclays PLC, 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP
  • Sir Winfried Bischoff, Chairman of the Board, Lloyds Banking Group, 25 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7HN (HBOS is part of the LLoyds Banking Group)
  • Douglas Flint, Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings Plc, 8 Canada Square, London, E14 5HQ

Bank policy statements on arms

  • Barclays statement (Barclays remains the top bank funder of the arms trade)
  • RBS statement
  • Lloyds banking Group plc doesn't mention the arms trade in its social responsibility document. It was 2nd among high street banks in arms investments according to War on Want's 2008 report. Download WaronWant report here
  • HSBC defence sector policy claims they have been disengaging from arms related investment since 2000 but has some excuses about existing contracts and acting for independent investors. War on Want unconvinced 2008.
    Link to policy pdf file

Philip Hampton has a degree from Lincoln College, Oxford. He spent 9 years with investment bank Lazards. He was in the news recently when he and his fellow directors of RBS threatened to resign en masse if they were not allowed by the government to award the bonuses they wanted. He has had close links with government, responsible for the 2004 Hampton report on banking regulation and chairman of UK financial investments Ltd, set up to manage the government's (i.e. our) shareholdings in banks.
Interesting that someone who advised on regulation before the great bank disaster was appointed to protect our interests after it - and then returned to champion investment bankers' rights to huge bonuses

Winifred Bischoff was born in Germany, moved to South Africa with his parents in his teens and graduated from the University of Witwatersrand. He spent many years with investment bank Schroders. He has British and German nationality. He is a globetrotting city grandee.

Sir David Walker is an establishment city 'grandee' with a reputation as a safe pair of hands in a crisis. He has had many top jobs in government and banking. He has a double first in economics from Cambridge University.

Barclays statement on the defence sector
The Barclays group provides financial services to the defence sector within a specific policy framework. Fie assess each proposal on a case-by-case basis and legal compliance alone does not automatically guarantee our support. The status of the exporter and the importing/exporting country, the nature of the equipment, its likely use and the potential for it to be on-sold are all considered as part of the assessment process. The aim is to ensure that defence exports financed by barclays are not used by foreign authorities either to oppress their own populations or to support unjustified external aggression. Fie participate only in transactions which conform, as a minimum, to the stronger of regulations in either the country of operation or the uk. It is our policy not to finance trade in nuclear, chemical, biological or other weapons of mass destruction. Our policy also explicitly prohibits financing trade in landmines, cluster bombs or any equipment designed to be used as an instrument of torture.
Public policy and sustainability
June 2008


RBS statement on the defence sector
RBS Group acts in accordance with the strict regulation and licensing arrangements set by the UK government, and by relevant international standards, when engaging with companies involved in the design, manufacture, support and trade of defence equipment. When considering complex and evolving defence-related matters, such as landmines and cluster munitions, we adhere to policy guidance from the UK government and the appropriate international legal standards. In relation to landmines, the Ottawa Convention bans the production and export of all types of anti-personnel landmines, including non-detectable ones, to all countries. In relation to cluster munitions, the Convention on Cluster Munitions requires each signatory State to ban the production, use and stockpiling of cluster munitions. RBS will not knowingly support any application for funding or financial services that would directly contravene these standards and will seek to ensure that our client relationships are not in breach of these principles.


Bank chief executive email addresses (updated 13/9/12)

Antony Jenkins, Barclays chief executive

(now Bob Diamond has departed.)

Antonio Osorio, Lloyds (includes Halifax, HBOS) chief executive

Stephen Hester, RBS (includes NatWest) chief executive

Ana Patricia Botin, Santander (formerly Abbey) chief executive

Brian Robertson, Chief executive HSBC (UK)

To avoid receiving a standard reply it is a good idea to adapt a standard letter to make it personal.