Wednesday 2 September, 2020
Kiwi Invest has come away with an A+ rating for Strategy and Governance in its first assessment from the PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment), after becoming a signatory to the global responsible investor initiative in February 2020.
PRI, the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment, partners with the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact to advance responsible investment practices and is the international benchmark for how institutional investors should manage environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. The PRI will continue to monitor and independently rate Kiwi Invest’s performance against RI standards in its investment processes, which also includes its proactive engagement with the companies it invests in to encourage continuous improvements to ESG policies.
Steffan Berridge, quantitative and responsible investments strategist for Kiwi Invest, says, “We’re delighted to have become a PRI signatory this year and gone ahead with submitting a full transparency report even though this is not compulsory in the first year. The scores have given us a validation of our strong responsible investment credentials in key areas we’ve been developing, and a benchmark to improve on in others.
“We’re continuing to observe the practice of green washing in the fund management industry. While some of us are using responsible investment activities to push for concrete progress on key ESG issues, others unfortunately are merely pandering to RI and using it as a marketing ploy. Some fund managers exercise very little control over their investments and the companies they’re invested in – or simply have a token ESG or ‘impact fund’ – and investors are left in the dark. To this end, we’re pleased the Financial Markets Authority is now setting expectations that fund managers who are promoting funds as ‘green’ or using ESG principles are doing what they say.
“Investors deserve to know precisely how a responsible investing strategy is being implemented on their behalf, which companies their money is invested in and how ESG criteria are being applied. We think it should be mandatory for fund managers to disclose investment exclusions and shareholder proxy voting records on all funds marketed as responsible. These principles are why global benchmarks such as PRI are so important, and why Kiwi Invest became a signatory."
Kiwi Invest is the investment team behind Kiwi Wealth’s funds; it implements exclusion, integration and engagement strategies across all funds it manages. All of Kiwi Wealth’s KiwiSaver funds are independently certified by the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) and information on sector, company exclusions and proxy voting records are always publicly available to investors.
Kiwi Invest’s 2017 white paper on responsible investment, endorsed by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia, found that responsible investing objectives were best achieved when ESG factors were considered across all investments in a portfolio in combination with actively engaging with companies and exercising proxy voting rights to influence company performance. The white paper, ‘Investing in an imperfect world: Our take on true responsible investment’, can be accessed here.
Find out more about Kiwi our approach to responsible investment.