There's a lot more to selecting a KiwiSaver fund than just checking past returns and fees. If your hard-earned money is invested in KiwiSaver, you need to ask the important questions to understand where and how that money is invested.
Note: The following information is taken from Pathfinder Kiwisaver Scheme's own website, fund updates, and the product disclosure statement published in 20 October 2020.
Facts & History of the KiwiSaver provider
Pathfinder is a KiwiSaver plan actively managed by Pathfinder Asset Management. They have been managing investments ethically for nearly a decade. This KiwiSaver plan is for Kiwis who care about investing wisely for their retirement as well as their community and the planet.
Pathfinder is a boutique fund manager based in Auckland. They focus on Responsible Investment (RI) in global assets. They started investing ethically in 2010, and now manage 7 Funds. They recently launched 3 new KiwiSaver Funds of which one is CareSaver.
✅ New Zealand Based Provider
Pathfinder manages seven funds under their KiwiSaver scheme, varying in levels of risk from the Cash Fund to the Shares Fund. As of March 2020, the total Assets Under Management (AUM) for Pathfinder is over $77 million.
A+ Governance and Strategy rating from the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment
The investment team, structure and their alignment with clients
John Berry - Pathfinder Asset Management - Chief Executive Officer
John is committed to making ethical investment accessible to all NZ investors.
Before co-founding Pathfinder in 2009 John worked in law firms and investment banks in Auckland, London and Sydney. He has a BCom/LLB(Hons) from Auckland University.
He’s a board member of Men’s Health Trust and a member of the government appointed Code Working Group (designing a new code of conduct for financial advice in NZ).
Paul Brownsey - Pathfinder Asset Management - Chief Investment Officer
Paul heads Pathfinder’s investment team and its ethical investment processes.
Before co-founding Pathfinder in 2009, Paul had extensive experience in financial markets, having worked in Wellington, London, Singapore, and Auckland.
Paul has a BSc (Operations Research) from Canterbury University and is a member of the Investment Committee for Arthritis NZ.
James Caughey - Investment Strategist
James Caughey is a member of the investment committee as well as a member of the Global Macro Research Committee. His leadership role at Alvarium Wealth covers strategic asset allocation, manager research and portfolio and fund construction. James has 11 years’ investment management experience. James graduated from the University of Auckland with a B.Com Finance and BA Classics and Ancient History (1st class honours).
Nish Vyas - Director of Private Wealth
Nish joined Alvarium Wealth in February 2020 after working at Westpac Private & Wealth and BNZ Private Bank for 17 years. Before coming to New Zealand, he worked with a Fortune 500 Oil company in India (previously Shell Oil). Nish is an Authorised Financial Adviser and has a post-graduate diploma in Personal Financial Planning from the University of Waikato. He is also a Certified Financial Planner. Outside of work, Nish is a keen tennis player and has represented India in table tennis.
The Pathfinder Conservative Fund is run collaboratively by Paul and Hamesh. Paul as Head of Investment has the responsibility, however, much of the work is done by both him and Hamesh. Kate (the environmental scientist) is also involved on the research side. This is overseen by their Investment Committee (which includes an independent member - Kent Fraser) which typically meets quarterly to review risk and long-term thematic views.
Pathfinder’s incentives align with their goals of managing funds that contain companies that do social good. Their investment basis relies fundamentally on the UN sustainable development goals, making investment decisions that align with these and invest only in companies that operate and have policies that adhere to these guidelines.
According to MindfulMoney, they are completely aligned with these goals, with 0% of their investments being associated with companies that might violate these principles.
Governance & Compliance processes
All KiwiSaver Scheme Providers must ensure they meet regulatory standards and act with customer interests in mind.
KiwiSaver Scheme Managers must exercise care, diligence, and skill in the investment of scheme assets, and act in accordance with the stated investment policy and objectives. The FMA monitors that KiwiSaver Schemes are compliant with their obligations. Additionally, KiwiSaver Scheme Trustees also have a responsibility as front-line supervisors for monitoring the management and administration of these schemes.
The Supervisor and Custodian of the Scheme are the Public Trust (PT). The PT is responsible for the supervision of the Scheme and the performance of Pathfinder’s duties as manager of the Scheme. The PT is independent of Pathfinder and is regulated by the Financial Markets Authority.
A custodian plays a key role in protecting your investments. They hold your money and investments (i.e. keep custody of them) on your behalf. So they are the legal holder of your assets while you are the beneficial and ultimate owner.
A supervisor is a licensed entity independent of a KiwiSaver scheme provider that supervises the provider’s management of the scheme. KiwiSaver schemes are trusts, and (except for restricted KiwiSaver schemes) the terms of the trust deed states that the supervisor (or another custodian) must hold all contributions and investments in trust for the investors.
Pathfinder is owned and managed by Pathfinder Asset Management, another investment firm involved in ESG investment. Paul and John report to Pathfinder, which is overseen by five directors (two are independent) to maintain a high standard of corporate governance and adherence to the investment policies outlined in the SIPO.
The obligations of Pathfinder as Manager of the Funds include:
The Manager will maintain an investment committee (the Pathfinder Investment Committee) to oversee the management of the Funds.
Follow the link below to Pathfinder’s Statement of Investment Policy and Objectives, for more:
The investment processes followed by the manager
Pathfinder’s investment philosophy is built on two foundations:
Pathfinder’s investment philosophy is described below.
UN Sustainable Development Goals: Aspire for their investment decisions to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Investing ethically: Companies with high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics to perform better than low scoring companies. They also believe high ESG companies are better for our planet and its people. For these reasons, They will actively seek out high ESG companies to invest in. They will also exclude companies engaged in industries or activities They believe to be harmful. This includes companies focused on gambling, tobacco, cluster munitions, fossil fuels, factory farming, and several other categories (please see www.path.co.nz and their Ethical Investment Policy for more information on exclusions).
Climate change awareness: Companies with a lower carbon intensity will make better long-term investments. They believe they will benefit our planet and its people in a warming world.
Aware, Fair, Care: Avoid investing in companies whose business practices are inconsistent with the dignity of individuals (for example, how they treat staff, customers, and suppliers. They also avoid companies where their operations involve animal testing or very high levels of controversy.
Engagement and shareholder voting: Vote as a shareholder to encourage positive change. This means they vote on issues from their ESG perspective. With this approach, they will at times actively vote against the recommendations of a company’s management where their view conflicts with Pathfinder’s ethical purpose. They will also actively promote ethical investment and encourage positive change by corporates.
Although Pathfinder is a part of Pathfinder Asset Management group, the members are directly involved with the management of the fund as well. The obligations of Pathfinder as Manager of the Funds include:
The Manager will maintain an investment committee (the Pathfinder Investment Committee) to oversee the management of the Funds and adherence to this SIPO.
Fund compliance with the SIPO is monitored on an ongoing basis by Pathfinder Asset Management. Fund performance is reported monthly. Each Fund is also reviewed at least annually by Pathfinder Asset Management.
Social and Ethical Considerations
Socially responsible investing (SRI) or Environmental, Social and Governance investing (ESG), also known as sustainable, socially conscious, “green” or ethical investing, is any investment strategy which seeks to consider both financial return and social/environmental good to bring about social change regarded as positive by society.
Basically, SRI investing is investing in companies that have a positive impact on society, based on a number of factors.
Pathfinder may exclude investments in companies that they view as doing substantial and irreparable harm to society or the environment provided the risk/ return implications of excluding such companies is not expected to lead to a significant financial detriment for clients and can be effectively managed.
Below is Pathfinder’s Responsible Investing Policy that outlines the strategies used to employ ESG:
Below is a list of industries CareSaver chooses to exclude :
Pathfinder believes ethical investors have a responsibility to use their ownership rights to influence corporate behavior and promote change. This starts with voting at company meetings in a manner consistent with Pathfinder’s ethical beliefs.
Engagement is not just voting. It also means actively promoting ethical investment and encouraging positive change by corporates. This includes:
We have looked at the best performing KiwiSaver funds based on their 5-year returns, however, looking at past performance of a fund is just one aspect when choosing a KiwiSaver fund. Other questions you should be asking include:
Our research team at National Capital looks at over 100+ funds and can recommend the right KiwiSaver investment for you.
Our KiwiSaver recommendations look at the big picture and not just the scorecard. So, what are you waiting for?
Caresaver KiwiSaver Scheme has the following KiwiSaver Funds. More details on each of these funds can be found in the links below.