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Ethics and Investing

February 20, 2020



Do you care if your KiwiSaver provider is a responsible investor? If you do, it might be worth finding out.

RI Pig

Is your KiwiSaver provider a responsible investor? 

Many Kiwis want to have their personal values reflected in their investments.  But a quarter of New Zealanders are having a hard time trusting claims of ‘responsible investing’ from fund managers. 

Trust is earned not given

Last year’s survey of 1,000 New Zealanders from the Responsible Investing Association Australia (RIAA) found that 49% cited a lack of independent information as a barrier to responsible investment.  26% didn’t believe the responsible, sustainable or ethical claims of their fund managers.

Joe Bishop, Kiwi Wealth Chief Customer Officer, says it’s up to KiwiSaver providers to earn the trust of their members. 

“Kiwis clearly want to have their funds invested responsibly but a lack of trust in their provider, and independent information, is preventing them from doing more. 

Trust is earned, not given, and providers can and should do more to show their members they’re not ‘green washing’.  They can be more transparent on the information they’re reporting to members and open up their responsible investing practices to independent scrutiny.

When it comes to the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme, members can see a wealth of information on responsible investing including exactly which sectors or companies are excluded and how Kiwi Wealth has exercised shareholder voting influence to effect positive change in the companies they invest in.”

Show your credentials

Transparency goes a way to earning trust.  But that’s not the only factor.  Being able to point to Independent credentials also helps build trust.

“Almost 90% of our KiwiSaver members have said independent certification is important in their decision-making” says Joe Bishop.  That’s why we were the first default provider to have all funds independently verified by the Responsible Investment Association of Australia.  As a recent signatory of the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment framework, our performance on responsible investment is being independently graded.

“Kiwis deserve to know just how responsibly invested their KiwiSaver fund is and have confidence in the information being supplied to them.  At a bare minimum, providers should be equipping them with information on sector, company exclusions, shareholder proxy voting records and having their responsible investment processes independently certified.“ 

Shared values

Responsible investing is also about shared values between investor and investee.

“It also means working closer with KiwiSaver members to understand what personal values matter most and how they would like them reflected in their investments.  We listened to our members and taking the time to understand what’s important to them and the products and policies that meets those needs. 

“Because all our funds are actively managed, we have the flexibility to change our responsible investment criteria to exclude those companies we deem ‘unethical’ and reward those we believe are doing well in this area."

Tags: Responsible Investing

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