How the new guardians of public health are investing heavily in tobacco companies

Re: How the new guardians of public health are investing heavily in tobacco companies

5 December 2012

Local authorities are not the only guardians of public health who invest in tobacco companies. I recently sought some advice from Wesleyan, a company specialising in financial advice for doctors, dentists and other professionals. I was advised to invest in the Wesleyan Life Managed Fund. On further enquiry I discovered that British American Tobacco was among the top ten holdings for this fund (http://www.wesleyan.co.uk/pdf/55243/lifemanagedfundfactsheet). Wesleyan claims to have a commitment to social responsibility and states on its website that ‘it is inherent in our business model that we have responsible policies for our staff, customers and the community’. If investing in tobacco counts as a responsible policy in a company specifically catering for doctors, what hope is there for any ethical investment?

Competing interests: I have invested money in ethical funds through Wesleyan.

Peter Sidebotham, Paediatrician

Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

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