Would you feel bad about investing in a Russian oil company? According to the comparison website finder.comover half of Brits wouldn’t if they discovered that any of their investments were supporting Russian companies and/or companies operating in Russia.
Fifty-four per cent of respondents to the UK-wide study said that investing in companies that support Russia wouldn’t make them feel bad, whilst 59 per cent wouldn’t feel bad about investing in a Russian-owned company.
Twenty-two per cent responded that they wouldn’t feel guilty about investing in any sector at all; Including 88 per cent who wouldn’t feel guilty about investing in oil companies, 86 per cent for meat farming, 74 per cent for tobacco companies and 68 per cent for weapons manufacturers.
In terms of what they would feel guilty about, seven per cent wouldn’t want to invest in a vaccine company; the equivalent of 3.6 million people.
Despite the majority of Brits stating that they would feel guilty about owning investments in certain areas, when pressed on the matter of selling these investments, only 40 per cent said they would do so.
Thirty-one per cent would sell guilty investments but don’t know how to, whilst 18 per cent wouldn’t sell guilty investments but don’t know how to.
Overall, 30 per cent remain ‘unsure’ if they would sell anything at all.
A generational divide
There appears to be an age divide in terms of attitudes to investing in Russian based or owned companies.
According to the report, Gen Z – those born between 1997 and 2012 – are the least guilty about investing in Russia, with 74 per cent saying they wouldn’t feel in the wrong if they did so.
This is significantly more than baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – with 47 per cent of their cohort saying they wouldn’t feel guilty, and also much more than the silent generation – those born between 1928 and 1945 – with exactly half responding that they wouldn’t feel bad.
Gen Z and millennials – 1981 to 1996 – are also the generations least likely to feel guilt at investing in certain industries. Only 16 per cent of Gen Zs and 19 per cent of millennials would feel bad about doing so.
In contrast, 30 per cent of the silent generation say they would feel guilty as would a similar amount of baby boomers at 28 per cent.
“There is a clear disconnect between the public’s sentiment and their actions. Many seem to have guilt about the idea of owning certain investments but aren’t prepared to actually sell, or they don’t know how to sell and some don’t have plans to learn, either,” said Zoe Stabler DipFA, investment specialist at finder.com.
“This inertia isn’t helped by many funds and pensions, in particular, not providing a clear breakdown of exactly what stocks, sectors or countries are included in their plans.
“Despite this, there are some investors who are voting with their feet – our report last year found that 28 per cent of investors and potential investors would choose other investments even if they didn’t perform as well as other investments.”
Read more about the fintech companies coming forward to support Ukraine here.