Mint NZ SRI fund now accessible to retail clients

Mint Asset Management has brought its wholesale New Zealand SRI Equity Fund to the retail market.

Friday, March 26th 2021, 12:56PM

by Daniel Smith

The fund has been available to wholesale investors since October 2017. It began after Mint was approached by an investor who wanted specific exclusions in an SRI fund and has since become one of the firm's key ESG offerings.

David Boyle, head of sales and marketing, says an ESG focus is “a really important element to long-term investment”.

“Launching this fund at a retail level gives access to mum and dad investors, through predominantly financial advisers, to a NZ-only equity fund that has a strong weighting towards ESG.”

David Fyfe, portfolio manager at Mint says that ESG is “the new norm in the investment process and is here to stay”.

“We consider ESG as a set of risk factors for businesses that need to be considered, measured and managed. We have the view that companies who comply with ESG have better risk outcomes than companies who don’t.”

While ESG is a consideration across all Mint funds, the New Zealand SRI Equity Fund has a differentiation Fyfe says.

“The way that we run the portfolio this fund has a double-weight ESG.

“When we run our scoring of companies we look at things that are qualitative and quantitative. Within the qualitative side, ESG makes up half of the score within our standard funds.

“Within this fund we effectively double that weight, so stocks with clear ESG factors will have a far higher weighting when we are putting together the [fund] portfolio.”

Fyfe believes that the New Zealand SRI Equity Fund goes beyond ESG funds which use outside screening companies to tell them what to invest in. Mint has taken on that responsibility and workload themselves.

“How we differentiate ourselves from our peers is these ESG scores that we create ourselves. It is our own proprietary view, our own internal ranking survey. It is a heavily involved process.

“One of the points is that the disclosure from companies especially in the NZX outside the NZX20 is not great, it is certainly improving with government mandates, but we have to do the work ourselves, we have to know the companies and that is how investors are getting their value.”

Boyle sees the fund as being a way for advisers to diversify their clients into an SRI fund with a proven track record.

“I think as more advisers work with clients that have a stronger focus in the area of responsible investment this could form part of a portfolio.

“It is something actively managed, it has a strong weighting to ESG and a great track record. It is something that could be very attractive to advisers and their clients.”

Tags: David Boyle ESG Mint Asset Management responsible investing SRI

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