Looking for ethical KiwiSaver fund options?

As reported by Matt Nippert from the NZ Herald, the Herald and RNZ revealed in August that KiwiSaver fund managers had invested $153m of client funds in stocks blacklisted by the government-run New Zealand Superannuation Fund. These investments included $43.4m of potentially illegal investments in companies making weapons banned by New Zealand legislation.

Nippert also reports that within two months $109m of identified controversial stocks had been dumped by KiwiSaver providers - including 99.9 per cent of investments in the banned weapon-makers - with attention turning how to manage exposure to such firms held indirectly through index investments.

This shake-up has resulted in the number of KiwiSaver providers offering more socially responsible options, which means that they screen for "undesirable" investments. As discussed in our previous article The Rise of Ethical Investing, ethical investing is sometimes easier said than done - depending on whether you are talking about a direct investment, such as a share in a company, or a managed fund where your money is pooled with other investors and invested in a particular fund such as KiwiSaver, it might be difficult to tell where your money is invested.

However, according to the latest Sorted survey of providers, 38 per cent of KiwiSaver schemes now include an ethical option.

Click here to read Get Sorted: Ethical KiwiSaver options expand - Tom Hartmann, where he lists the ethical KiwiSaver funds per fund type.

If ethical investing is important to you, you can start off with this list. But it is also very important to understand in which type of fund you should invest, according to your financial goals. Other things to consider are whether the level of service they provide matches your needs and if you are happy with the fees that are charged.

Hartmann concludes "You don't want to end up in the "ethically perfect" fund that doesn't suit your other needs. Still, in terms of investing ethically in KiwiSaver, it's good to know that you've got more options than ever".


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