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Summary

We’ve negotiated a new fund type with the manager of the fund Whai Rawa invests in – Mercer Investment Trusts New Zealand. From 1 October the Whai Rawa fund will be invested in a Socially Responsible Conservative Portfolio.

What do I need to know?

We’re changing our fund! We’ve negotiated a new fund type with the manager of the fund Whai Rawa invests in – Mercer Investment Trusts New Zealand. From 1 October the Whai Rawa fund will be invested in a Socially Responsible Conservative Portfolio. We have traditionally invested in conservative investment fund – but without socially responsible investment requirements.

What has changed?

In December 2017, Mercer New Zealand, the underlying fund manager of the fund Whai Rawa invests in, excluded from the investments it makes:

  • Companies manufacturing cluster munitions, landmines, chemical or biological weapons, or nuclear weapons; and
  • Companies manufacturing tobacco products.

We recognise ethical investing as an important kaupapa and in November 2018, agreed to progress with socially responsible investment funds for the Whai Rawa Fund’s future investment options, noting the investment philosophy’s alignment to Ngāi Tahu values and Te Rūnanga’s position on ethical investment.

The socially responsible bit just means that the fund manager has developed a framework, which outlines how they assess what sectors or companies to exclude on the basis of their not meeting our socially responsible investment criteria. The change also includes an active investment decision to allocate funds to assets which are likely to have a positive environmental impact, as well as delivering on financial objectives, such as windfarms and timber.

The new Investment Portfolio for the Whai Rawa Fund does not invest in companies that:

  • are directly involved in the development and production, sale, or distribution of cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines, and biological, chemical and nuclear weapons
  • receive more than 10% revenue from tobacco-related, adult entertainment-related, alcohol-related, or gambling-related activities
  • receive more than 20% revenue from the extraction of thermal coal and/or tar sands oil

This type of fund better aligns with our Ngāi Tahu values overall, and we think it is a much better choice for our members. We’ve also made sure you are not paying any more to be a socially responsible investor – so essentially you are getting a fund more aligned with our values at no extra cost. We believe taking a socially responsible investment approach won’t sacrifice anything on the performance front over the medium to long term too.

WHAT DOES SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE MEAN?

Socially Responsible means sustainable and ethical investments. We live on an increasingly ecologically-stressed planet and there is rising concern over the impact of companies on individuals, the environment and communities. There is also a growing movement of investors who recognise the connection between investment and real-world impact. Socially Responsible investors want their funds to reduce pollution or exploitation, and to invest in companies with high ethical standards. Even better, several studies have even shown that on average, responsible investing earns as much or more than conventional investing. Investing responsibly is as much about what we invest in, as it is what we don’t. Socially Responsible investing means having an investment strategy that not only excludes certain “negative” sectors that are harmful to the environment and society, but also proactively including sectors that are believed to be more sustainable and beneficial to the environment and society.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Whai Rawa has changed its investment programme from the beginning of October and now invests your savings in a Socially Responsible Conservative Investment Portfolio managed by Mercer New Zealand.

What do I need to do?

Nothing, this happens automatically.

Will I notice any changes?

Your investment fees will remain the same and you should expect similar returns to what you would have achieved from the fund’s current investments over the medium to long term.