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Kiwis seek RI information - but not from advisers

New Zealanders say there is not enough information available to help them choose responsibly invested KiwiSaver funds – but very few seek out an adviser to help them.

Wednesday, November 16th 2016, 6:00AM

Those are some of the findings of a new survey of more than 1000 New Zealanders.

It was launched yesterday at the Responsible Investment Association Australasia’s conference in Auckland.

The survey found that 95% of respondents said it was of some importance that KiwiSaver funds considered environmental, social, governance and/or ethical factors when making their investments.

But only 59% said they would rate that importance at more than six out of ten.

One-third said the decisions they made on where to invest were weighted 50/50 between financial considerations and their personal values. Issues related to people, animals and corruption rated more highly in the things people expected their investments to avoid than environmental factors.

The biggest concerns were companies investing in whaling or nuclear power.

More than half of the respondents said they would be more likely to invest in a KiwiSaver fund certified as responsible but only 42% were willing to pay any more to do so.

More than half of all respondents agreed that they did not have enough time to look at all the options and compare them, or that there was not enough independent information available.

But 44% made their financial decisions on the basis of their own personal research,which ranked just ahead of turning to their KiwiSaver provider, bank and then friends and family.

Only 14% said they would seek out the help of a financial planner or adviser - the least popular option.

Simon O’Grady, Kiwi Wealth chief investment officer, said investors expected their wealth management companies to develop pragmatic solutions that reflected their personal values but also performed financially.

“New Zealanders want to be responsible with their investments but at the same time want to achieve strong financial returns. Well over half of the sample say financial performance is more important to them in their investments than personal values. We think this is important to take into account when developing our investment policies.

“The survey shows how varied people's personal values are when it comes to investment. Kiwis have also demonstrated a strong preference for fund managers to be active shareholders, positively influencing company performance through active engagement rather than just divesting.

“This survey raises many important issues for the New Zealand wealth management industry, and it’s a real challenge to strike the right balance on these issues while still meeting our fiduciary responsibilities.”

Tags: KiwiSaver responsible investing

« FMA offers KiwiSaver advice guidanceBanks raise concern about 'fee-chasers' »

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