What are your links to the defence sector?

We provide a range of financial services to clients in the defence sector. Our clients in this sector include US, UK and European companies which supply defence products to NATO and its allies.

These companies are an important contributor to our security in a time of increasing uncertainty. They provide equipment to a wide range of countries including the UK and other European NATO members, and more recently Ukraine. We don’t think that taking away financial support for our clients in the defence sector is the right thing to do. They are as essential to our defence as the armed forces, and having access to the most advanced equipment is essential to protect our armed forces. In April, the UK Government said that supporting high-quality, well-run defence companies is compatible with ESG considerations.

We have been asked why we invest in nine defence companies supplying Israel, but this mistakes what we do. We trade in shares of listed companies in response to client instruction or demand and that may result in us holding shares. Whilst we provide financial services to these companies, we are not making investments for Barclays and Barclays is not a “shareholder” or “investor” in that sense in relation to these companies.

An associated claim is that we invest in Elbit, an Israeli defence manufacturer which also supplies the UK armed forces with equipment and training. For the reasons mentioned, it is not true that we have made a decision to invest in Elbit. We may hold shares in relation to client driven transactions, which is why we appear on the share register, but we are not investors. We note also that Elbit is highlighted because campaigners claim it makes cluster bombs. We would cease any relationship with any business where we saw evidence that it manufactures cluster bombs or components.

The defence sector is heavily regulated. Barclays also has policies on a range of issues including climate change, human rights and the defence and security sector. For example, for the defence and security sector the policy includes a prohibition on working with clients known to be manufacturing cluster munitions and landmines or their components. We consult widely on these issues and our approach is then captured in our policies and we use these policies to evaluate clients and transactions. The policies are available to view on our website for anyone to view.

What are your views on the current conflict in Palestine, and the provision of weapons to the IDF?

First and most importantly, we recognise the profound human suffering caused by this conflict. This is an exceptionally complex and long-running conflict, and we urge governments and the international community to work together to find a lasting, peaceful solution.

It is the role of respective Governments to decide foreign policy and laws which restrict the delivery of weapons to any one country. We have noted the UK and US Governments’ concern with respect to civilian deaths and the targeting of aid workers, and will continue to monitor developments closely.

Find out more about how we approach our relationships with companies in the defence and security sector (PDF 562KB)