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Pensions provider to ‘quit smoking’ by going tobacco-free across investments

By Vicky Shaw, Press Association Personal Finance Correspondent
Nest, which has more than eight million members, estimates it will take up to two years to go tobacco-free across its investments portfolio.

Major pensions provider Nest plans to go “tobacco-free” across its investments.

Nest, which has more than eight million members, said its decision to “quit smoking” was based on the long-term future of the industry, which has been facing falling demand, tougher action by governments and litigation risks.

It estimates it will take up to two years to go tobacco-free.

The scheme’s exposure to tobacco is currently worth around £40 million.

Nest chief investment officer Mark Fawcett said: “We’ve been highlighting our specific concerns around tobacco investments and its performance for a couple of years now.

“We have not taken this decision lightly.”

Nest was set up by the Government to help deliver automatic enrolment into workplace pensions.

Since launching in 2010, it has grown into the largest UK master trust and includes 730,000 employers and more than £6 billion of assets under management.

Nest also quoted one of its members, Dean Walker, based in Portsmouth, who said: “I’m a new dad and I’ll certainly be encouraging my daughter not to smoke when she grows up…

“I think what Nest are doing is a great idea and I hope more companies follow suit.”