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05 Feb, 2008

Published: 11:21 Tuesday 05 February 2008
By: Daniel Grote, New Model News Reporter

Standard Life ethical funds will no longer invest in airlines after a survey of its investors revealed a significant portion opposed to such stocks.

Standard Life Investments (SLI) announced the policy change following the results of its latest survey of its ethical investors, in which 30% of respondents said they would prefer its ethical funds not to invest in airlines.

'In light of the sizeable percentage of our investors wishing to avoid investment in airlines, the [Standard Life] Ethical Committee has decided that our ethical policy should be adapted to reflect these views,' said Julie McDowell, head of sustainable and responsible investment at SLI.

'I am sure that investors welcome the fact that they play an important part in helping to shape our ethical fund criteria.'

SLI has withdrawn all its investments in airline stocks from its ethical funds as a result of the decision.

Standard Life Investments currently manages £588.5 million over its ethical fund range, which includes the UK Ethical, Ethical Corporate Bond, European Equity Ethical, Life Ethical and Pension Ethical funds.

Standard Life investor's ethical stance on airlines has also coincided with a seeming downturn in prospects for the European airline sector.

Low-cost airline Ryanair has warned its profits could fall by up to 50% in its next financial year, and cautioned that the European airline sector was facing a downturn.

The possibility of higher oil prices, poor consumer demand, weaker sterling and higher airport costs were all reasons for gloom, said chief executive Michael O'Leary.

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