At Delta Lloyd, we’ve always taken a long-term view on investing. We take up our responsibility as a shareholder in the companies we invest in. As a case in point, Delta Lloyd has been a major shareholder in small caps, often family businesses, for many years and has tried to bring companies facing headwind back on track, often in cooperation with fellow shareholders, rather than abandoning them at the first sign of trouble.
Likewise, we take a responsible approach when seizing investment opportunities across the world. Looking at every opportunity critically, we exclude companies and countries involved in the production or trade of controversial weapons, human rights violations or other activities that go against our standards for responsible investing. For many years, for instance, Myanmar was on our list of excluded countries. We refrained from investing in companies doing business in this authoritarian Southeast Asian country, where human rights violations were abundant.
We strongly believe excluding countries and companies comes with responsibilities. We constantly monitor developments so we are ready to support a change for the better as soon as it arises. In the case of Myanmar we changed our investment policy in 2012, after the Myanmar regime had started reforms the year before, allowing trade unions and freeing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest. Although we haven’t dramatically stepped up investments, we are now open to invest in companies active in Myanmar.
We closely asses the environmental and social impact of these businesses, many of whom are involved in the oil and gas industry in Myanmar. We aim to make investments that contribute to accelerating the democratisation process in the country. We understand that reforms take time. But we also strongly believe that foreign investments, if made responsibly, can help build a democratic society.