All of us at Federated Hermes have been disturbed by the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia. As shocking images of bombs demolishing buildings in Ukraine’s major cities and harrowing tales of refugees – including orphans – seeking safety beyond the borders of their homeland flood our televisions and social media feeds, we stand with the Ukrainian people on the side of freedom, independence and democracy and condemn the Russian government’s aggression.
With the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia increasingly became a trading partner to more countries around the world, with broader access to the capital markets and a welcoming embrace of families long torn asunder by an Iron Curtain. This era of openness and partnership is seriously challenged as the world – and so many families – will be the worse because of the invasion.
Based on the Russian government’s aggression in Ukraine, many countries around the world –including the US, UK, France, Canada and Germany quickly and in coordinated manner appropriately reduced Russia’s access to the world’s financial system through an array of sanctions – ranging from freezing assets to removing Russian banks from the SWIFT global transactions banking network. The private sector acted, too, from major oil companies such as BP and Shell exiting ventures in Russia to a plethora of retailers, entertainment companies and social media platforms cutting ties with the country.
Millions of us around the world are fortunate to live our lives peacefully and without the threat of war, but that is not the case for those in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion of its neighbour and its indiscriminate shelling of population centres and civilian targets has shattered any semblance of peace for the people of Ukraine and cast an ominous shadow over Eastern Europe. We are appalled by the Russian invasion and our hearts go out to all Ukrainians affected by the conflict. Both Pittsburgh and London have sizeable Ukrainian and Russian communities, and many of us have been personally affected by the war.
As a global leader in active investment management, Federated Hermes will not be making any new investments in Russia, a position consistent with our investment strategies and our fiduciary duty. Federated Hermes’ personnel around the world will continue to monitor developments in the conflict, consult with regulatory bodies and work with industry participants to take the appropriate steps in the interest of our customers, colleagues and other stakeholders. Additionally, Federated Hermes has provided and continues to support the International and British Red Cross organisations to help those affected get food, clean water, shelter, medicine and basic medical supplies.
While worse days likely lie ahead for this horrible conflict, images from Ukraine have been simultaneously heartrending – crowded subway stations being used as bomb shelters, packed trains of refugees destined for other countries, and bombed-out inner-city apartment buildings. They have also occasionally been inspirational, such as mayors vowing to fight those invading their cities, neighbours banding together to defend their homes and an everyman leader asking for ammunition, not a ride. We stand with Ukrainians and for the rights of people across the world to live in freedom.