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Animal cruelty top of investors' worries

Fund managers might be dropping investments in ammunitions and pornography, carbon and gambling – but new research suggest it’s animal welfare that they should be most concerned about.

Tuesday, September 18th 2018, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

Research released today by Mindful Money and the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia shows people expect there to be investment options available that align with their personal values.

Mindful Money is a new responsible investment platform launched by former Green MP Barry Coates, to provide independent information to New Zealand investors.

The study showed 60% of respondents said they would move their investments if they found the money was in activities that did not fit with their beliefs.

The three issues that they most wanted to avoid funding were animal cruelty, human rights abuses and labour rights abuses.

Animal cruelty was the biggest concern, very important to 64% and important to another 23%.

Despite that, it was not an issue that managers have made a point of discussing in the market.

Concerns that investors deemed less important, such as fossil fuels (22% very important) and weapons (36% very important) have instead taken precedence.

Only 8% of respondents said they chose an investment provider based on sustainability. 

They were more likely to have opted for the most convenient.

Of KiwiSaver members, 40% said they were with their main bank for their super savings, too. Another 19% said they were still in the default option they had landed in. Only 9% got advice from an adviser about where to place their KiwiSaver.

Across all investments, only one in five said they had received advice from a financial adviser.

More than half the investors said ESG factors in investment were important. But most said financial factors were more important if there had to be a trade-off between ESG and maximising financial return.

Investors said they lacked the information about responsible options that they needed and did not have time to research and compare them.

“This research again shows us just how strongly New Zealanders want to ensure their investments are aligned with their values,” said Responsible Investment Association of Australasia chief executive Simon O’Connor.

“There has been a lot of discussion about how millennials are driving responsible investing but this research shows that those over 60 years old are just as committed.”

Tags: KiwiSaver responsible investing

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