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How do you know if your KiwiSaver fund is ethical?

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Is your KiwiSaver scheme really that ethical?

Ethics in KiwiSaver has received a lot of attention over the past few years. KiwiSaver providers have changed a lot to reflect the shift in moral values of New Zealanders. However, three-quarters of New Zealanders assume that their KiwiSaver money and other investment funds are being “invested responsibly”, despite $4 billion remaining in companies and sectors deemed unethical.

There are some funds set up for people who wish to invest in more ethical funds. And this is great news for the majority of Kiwis in KiwiSaver with non-ethical investments who want to switch.

In this blog post, we’ll have a deeper look at a few of these ethical funds.

What makes an “ethical fund” ethical?

The thing is, there is no one definition for what an ethical fund is. This is because different people have different views on ethics. 

Even so, most KiwiSaver funds do exclude certain areas of investing with ethics in mind. Areas that may be excluded are fossil fuels, weapon creation and tobacco.

However, compared to other funds, ethical funds will generally put a lot more attention into avoiding controversial investments. This means they will go above and beyond what a normal KiwiSaver provider would do in this area. They may choose not to invest in assets due to moral concerns or even have extra certification to back up their claims of being ethical. 

For example, Pathfinder (the parent company behind Caresaver) is a Certified B Corporation, which is a recognised certification for companies that focus on solving social and environmental problems. As of the time of writing, Caresaver has three KiwiSaver funds you could invest into. Caresaver also donates 20 percent of their fees to charity. 

Comparing different ethical funds

If investing morally is a priority for you, there are a few different providers that would suit you. And to demonstrate this, we will show the characteristics of three different KiwiSaver providers that have ethical funds - Booster, Superlife and Caresaver.

Booster

Superlife

Caresaver

  • Has three socially responsible funds - moderate, balanced and high growth.

  • Made for those that want to further exclude other controversial areas.

  • Socially responsible funds exclude nine areas of investment such as nuclear power production and military weapons manufacturing.

  • Offers an ethical fund named Ethica.

  • Ethica does not choose to invest in investments taking into account social, environmental and community outcomes.

  • Ethica does not invest in companies doing activities that would be illegal in New Zealand, or are not consistent “with the United Nations’ policies on health and safety, child rights and human rights”.

  • Certified B Corporation

  • Caresaver employs a “controversy rating” system to screen out investments

  • Donates 20% of their fees to charity.

Now these are far from the only providers with ethical funds. But the point is simply that there is some variety on the market for you to choose from.

One thing that we should point out is that just because a fund doesn’t say it’s ethical, it does not mean the fund managers aren’t. Fund managers, in general, do consider ethics when choosing what to invest in. For example, ASB is a signatory to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment, even though all except one of their funds have names that suggest they are ethically oriented.

Suggested Article: Have You Checked How Ethical Your Current KiwiSaver Provider Is?

Have a look at this factor before choosing an ethical fund

While it may be important for you to choose a fund that aligns with your values, please note that no ethical fund is the same in terms of its asset allocation. 

Asset allocation indicates which groups of investments your KiwiSaver money is being invested into. This is important to know because asset allocation has a large say in how much money you will have at the end of your retirement.

By investing too much in shares, or too much in bonds for example, you can miss out on thousands of dollars in returns or end up in a too risky KiwiSaver fund. This is another reason why National Capital says you should ensure you make an informed decision based on research as to which KiwiSaver fund to invest in. We can also help you decide which asset allocation is best for you through our KiwiSaver HealthCheck.

To give you an idea of how different KiwiSaver funds are in their asset allocation, check out this table below.

Name of Fund

Growth Assets

Income Assets

Cash

Booster KiwiSaver Scheme Socially Responsible Investment Moderate Fund

35.0%

45.0%

20.0%

Booster KiwiSaver Scheme Socially Responsible Investment Balanced Fund

55.0%

40.0%

5.0%

Superlife KiwiSaver Scheme Ethica

60.0%

39.0%

1.0%

CareSaver KiwiSaver Growth Fund

85.0%

10.0%

5.0%

Booster KiwiSaver Scheme Socially Responsible Investment High Growth Fund

98.0%

0.0%

2.0%

Related: Asset allocations of different KiwiSaver funds - what’s the difference?

National Capital can help you find the right ethical fund for free

National Capital can indeed help you find the right ethical fund. And the best part is that we can do it for free.

The way we help investors choose the right fund for them is through our KiwiSaver HealthCheck. It’s a simple form you fill out so we can understand more about your financial situation.

The first step to get this free advice is to fill out this HealthCheck. By doing so, we will be able to get a better understanding of you. With this information, we can then recommend to you an appropriate KiwiSaver fund. 

The great thing is that National Capital can give separate recommendations for those that want ethical funds. This means that when advising on the right KiwiSaver fund for you, we will take into account your preference for ethical investments before deciding which KiwiSaver fund is best for you.

After filling out our simple HealthCheck, you’ll get the opportunity to talk on a phone call to one of our advisors. During this call, you’ll get the privilege to hear our recommendations and ask any questions that you may have. This way, you can understand the advice that we are giving you and how you can implement it.

If you decide that you would like to implement the recommendations we give you, we can help you do this for you as well. This is a simple process which we will take care of, without costing you a cent.

So take advantage of our free KiwiSaver advisory service by filling out our KiwiSaver HealthCheck. Your future self will thank you for it.

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