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Issue 58

September 2016

RIAA NEWS

 

2016 RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT CONFERENCES

RIAA’s annual conferences are rapidly approaching, and represent the most important annual industry events for all involved in responsible and ethical investment across Australia and New Zealand.

With the ever greater attention on this industry, including growing demand, scrutiny and expectations by consumers and clients,  this is a great time for responsible investors to distinguish themselves in a busy market.

This is all the more reason to ensure that you don’t miss this year’s conferences being held in both Auckland and in Melbourne this November.RIAA’s annual conferences are an essential part of the responsible investment industry calendar and provides industry participants (from institutional investors to banks, fund managers, asset consultants and financial advisers) with topical information and tools to help gain a deeper understanding of responsible investment issues.

Last year’s conferences sold out, so make sure you book your tickets now.

ANNOUNCING RIAA’s INAUGRUAL SUPERFUND RI BENCHMARK REPORT

RIAA announces that building off our 15 years of measuring the size, growth, demand and quality of responsible investment across Australasia, we will this year be launching our sister report, our inaugural Superfund Responsible Investment Benchmark Report.

This will set out to measure the responsible investment practices of the largest 50 superfunds in Australia, providing insights into leading practices across all responsible investment styles in superannuation.

RIAA sees this as a core part of our strategy to deepen the practice of RI across all parts of the industry, and will be using this report to both inform the industry as to what constitutes leading practice, as well as better informing the public of the multiple RI strategies and leading approaches in the market, allowing consumers to better navigate towards funds that meet their own desires.

This first report will be launched at our conference in November.

WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS

 

RIAA is pleased to see our active network of members continuing to grow strongly, from 147 members as at July 2015 to 165 members today who combined manage well over $1 trillion in assets globally. We’re pleased to welcome our latest members to join:

 

  • Vision Super

 

Interested in joining RIAA? See our membership guide here, or feel free to get in touch with us at info@responsiblevestment.org

RI BLOG

 

WAS THE SAMARCO DISASTER A FAILURE OF GOVERNANCE FROM BHP BILLITON? – ALISON GEORGE

Much coverage of Samarco’s Bento Rodrigues dam collapse in Brazil has focused on technical factors which led to the tragic dam failure. But to what extent did inadequate governance play a part? The company’s key failure – apart from the tailings dam of course – was really one of oversight, and it is a common one around the world requiring greater attention than it gets. In order to prevent further value destruction, it’s time business and investors learnt the lessons of the costly Samarco disaster…

Alison George is head of governance for Regnan, advising investors on material environmental, social and governance risks and potential portfolio implications.

This article was first published in the Australian Financial Review on Sep 7 2016.

Read More.

SIMON O’CONNOR: KIWISAVER NEEDS TO REFLECT KIWI VALUES

Simon O’Connor, chief executive of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia says businesses are being disrupted by the rise of conscientious consumers.

The world of investment has been shaken wide awake in the recent weeks reminding financial institutions that they are managing other people’s money and people care about so much more than just financial returns.

Revelations by this newspaper that default KiwiSaver funds are invested in controversial weapons and tobacco have resulted in an outcry across politics, media and the public, and to those who have been watching, this should come as no surprise…

Read more

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

UPCOMING RIAA EVENTS

 

RIAA’s Responsible Investment Conferences

RI New Zealand 16
15 November
Auckland
More Info

RI Australia 16
23 – 24 November
Melbourne
More Info

UPCOMING INDUSTRY EVENTS

 

CDP Investor Roadshow AU & NZ
Melbourne – Monday 12 September, 9-11 am
Kindly hosted by National Australia Bank – Create room, 800 Bourke St, Melbourne 3000
Sydney – Thursday 15 September, 9-11.30 am
Kindly hosted by JP Morgan – Murray/Murrumbidgee room, Level 20, 85 Castlereagh St, Sydney 2000
Auckland – Monday 19 September, 2-4pm
Kindly hosted by NZ Super Fund – Waitakere room, Level 12, 21 Queen Street, Auckland 1010

More Info

 

Philanthropy Australia Conference 2016
21 – 22 September
Sydney

Hear RIAA CEO Simon O’Connor on the panel ‘Investing for good’ at 2pm on Day 1.

More Info

Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific
26 -28 October
Sydney

More Info

 

ACCSR Workshop – How to prepare a best practice Sustainabilty Report
16 – 17 November
Melbourne

Participants will gain an understanding of the elements of good sustainability reporting and how to co-ordinate the sustainability reporting process.

For booking information click here.

MEMBER NEWS

LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPER EXPANDS INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE AUSTRALIAN SHARES OPTION

 

Local Government Super has bolstered its commitment to responsible investment practices by making three significant changes to the investment restriction criteria within its Sustainable Australian Shares investment option (SAS).

The latest changes to the SAS investment restriction criteria include:

1) A broadening of existing screens to exclude investment in companies which provide ‘significant services’ to prohibited industries (armaments, weapons, tobacco, mining and gambling)

2) A new screen to exclude companies exposed to fossil fuels (this means no investments in any fossil fuel industries).

3) An additional screen that excludes financial services companies based on their corporate conduct.

Read more.

UNISUPER NAMED SUPER FUND OF THE YEAR

UniSuper has been named super fund of the year in the SuperReview’s awards night held recently. Local Government Super also took home best public sector fund, with AustralianSuper taking home best pension product and best MySuper option

Read more

VISION SUPER ADDS SUSTAINABILITY OPTION

Vision Super has introduced a sustainable balanced investment option to its menu that invests only in companies considered sustainability leaders.

The fund said its new, low-cost, low-carbon investment option has been created for members who want to responsibly invest their super without paying high fees and is believed to be an industry first by chief investment officer Michael Wyrsch.
Read More.

NORTHERN TRUST WINS TWO NZ SUPER MANDATES

Northern Trusts Asset Management has been handed two new factor investing mandates by The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation.

The mandates – each for NZ$300 million ($286 million) – will distribute funds Northern Trust already invests passively in global equities on behalf of NZ Super across a low volatility strategy and a value investing strategy.

Read more.

BLACKROCK: A HUGE CHANGE IS COMING

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with almost US$5 trillion in assets, said that all investors need to factor climate change, and the investment needed to halt it, into their future risk-assessments.

AUSTRALIAN SUPER CUTS ITS CARBON INVESTMENT FOOTPRINT
AustralianSuper, Australia’s largest super fund with $100 billion under management, has cut the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio by 10 per cent in the two years to December.

AUSTRALIAN ETHICAL SAYS ETHICAL INVESTING HAS ‘COME OF AGE’

Fund manager Australian Ethical says conscientious investing has “come of age” after a big lift in superannuation membership helped drive a 53 per cent rise in its annual profit.

 

NEWPIN SOCIAL BENEFIT BOND GENERATES STRONG RETURNS FOR NGS SUPER

Industry fund NGS Super says an investment in Australia’s first social benefit bond has rewarded members with both social and financial returns, aligning with the fund’s environmental, social and ethical investment framework.The New Parent and Infant Network (Newpin) Social Benefit Bond recently reported positive results for its third consecutive year, returning 12.15% to investors. NGS Super said this is on top of previous yearly returns of 8.9% and 7.5%. The fund’s initial investment was $500,000 in 2014.

Read more.

 

AXA IM SMART BETA FUND RECIEVES FURTHER ACCOLADES AXA Investment Managers’ ACWI SmartBeta Equity Fund has received multiple responsible investment ratings, now being rated as Recommended by Lonsec due to its proficiency at generating risk-adjusted returns.

The fund recently received a High Morningstar Sustainability Rating and Certification by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.

Read More.

FIRST STATE SUPER CIO MOVES TO LEAPFROG

First State Super’s Richard Brandweiner is stepping down from his role to join LeapFrog, citing a personal mission to make a difference through investing.

First State Super chairman Neil Cochrane said the fund is keen on forming an impact investment partnership with LeapFrog and Brandweiner.

Read more.

REGNAN RELEASES ANNUAL ENGAGEMENT REPORT

Regnan has released its annual report on its engagement and advocacy activity for 2015/16. While the report details coverage of ESG topics and progress in driving improved company performance, it also contributes to the conversation within the investment industry on the need for true ESG integration, and the need for greater transparency across all actors in the investment supply chain. Regnan has also provided illustrative case studies where active engagement has yielded results, including on the topic of climate resilience and more traditional governance issues.

Read more.

AMP LAUNCHES NEW RANGE OF FUNDS FOR KIWI SAVER

AMP Capital has launched 16 new funds in the Kiwi Saver Scheme, which includes a number of responsible investment options for the those who are seeking a more socially responsible choice.

Read more. 

 

RESPONSIBLE ENGAGEMENT REPORT REVEALS MORE ATTENTION IS NEEDED ON ESG

 A new report by Sustainalytics and Cass Business School highlights that while engagements have long been used as an investors tool, more consitency, scope and detail is needed when it comes to ESG engagements so that investors can benchmark their activities.

Read more.

 

 

ACCSR LAUNCHES 2016 ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE STATE OF CSR AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

ACCSR have launched their latest review of the state of CSR in Australia and New Zealand highlighting the the Sustainable Development Goals, including areas where we are excelling and areas where improvement is needed.

Read more.

INDUSTRY NEWS

VANGUARD TO CREATE NEW KIWISAVER PRODUCT

Vanguard said it was willing to create a new fund just for New Zealand that complied with the law and investors’ concerns, but it needed the KiwiSaver industry to agree on what should or should not be excluded.

Read more.

GRESB: AU AND NZ PROPERTY FUNDS LEAD THE WORLD FOR 7TH YEAR

GRESB repot shows property companies and funds in Australia and New Zealand led the world for a seventh straight year in measures such as environmental, social and governance performance.

Read more.

 

EUROPEAN FUNDS RESISTING CALLS FOR TOBACCO DIVESTMENT

A global campaign to persuade money managers to black-list tobacco stocks, has resulted in just one major European investor doing so.

Others are largely sticking with an industry that remains lucrative despite tightening restrictions on smoking and a series of lawsuits in the United States, saying they are duty-bound to seek the best returns for their clients.

 

AIGCC RELAUNCHES

The Asia Investor Group on Climate Change has relaunched this week, with new members including BlackRock, the International Finance Corporation and Cathay Financial Holdings.

 

MORE KIWISAVER PROVIDERS PULL WEAPONS INVESTMENT

Westpac and Fisher Funds both move to limit their exposure to controvesial weapons in the wake of the KiwiSaver weapson scandal.

Read more.

SUNCORP SEEKS TO CLARIFY STATEMENTS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

Suncorp chief executive Michael Cameron has done a backflip on his comments last week expressing his personal doubts about the involvement of humans in climate change.

Read more.

INVESTORS URGE G20 NATIONS TO RATIFY PARIS CLIMATE DEALS THIS YEAR

Investors managing more than $13 trillion of assets urged leaders of the Group of 20 on Wednesday to ratify a global climate deal by the end of 2016 and to step up efforts to shift from fossil fuels.

Read more.

 

IS IT TIME FOR INVESTORS TO SET THEIR SIGHTS ON THE GUN INDUSTRY?

With gun violence a clear issue in the United States, perhaps investors become involved in bringing about positive progress.

Read more.

THE COST OF CHEAP: SLAVE LABOUR IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN

If you’re buying cheap stuff, the odds are excellent that a slave is somewhere in the economies of scale that brought it to you.

Read more.

 

SHARE ACTION AND CLIENT EARTH RELEASE REPORT ON CLIMATE RISK AND LEGAL DUTIES

ShareAction and Client Earth release insightful report into current state of climate risk and legal investment duties

How does UK pension industry practice on climate risk stack up against legal investment duties? This report explores how far pension funds are considering climate risk in their investments and what more still needs to be done.

Read more.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

 

Sustainability Officer (9 months maternity leave contract – part time).

 

Local Government Super is looking for a Sustainability Officer to join their Investment Team based in Sydney. For details visit https://www.lgsuper.com.au/about-us/careers-at-lgs/opportunities/.

 

If you have anything you would like to share with the team at RIAA, or you would like to include in the RIAA Window, then send it to us at info@responsibleinvestment.org

We’d love to hear from you.

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