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Auckland (Friday 21 November 2008) - The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation today said it was performing well against the United Nations guidelines for responsible investment.  

The Guardians are a founding signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and today released an annual report card showing how it is incorporating the six principles of responsible investing into its investment strategy.  

"Over 300 funds support the UNPRI representing around US$15 trillion in assets under management. We are part of a significant group of like minded funds committed to improving the way companies manage environmental, labour standards, human rights and other issues", said the Guardians' Head of Responsible Investment Anne-Maree O'Connor.  

"The UNPRI has an assessment process to assist signatories to monitor their progress against the principles and to share practical experiences. It is encouraging that we are generally doing well across all of the principles and against our global and regional peer group,"  

"The annual review shows we are one of the top performing funds in the region and in the upper half or quartile globally across the majority of principles.   

"It is important to remember we are a new fund and that responsible investment is also an evolving area. We have made significant progress in a short period. Looking ahead, given that we employ specialist investment managers to carry out our investment strategies, we are assessing how we can better incorporate responsible investment issues into their decision making. This is a challenge for most funds of our size and diversification."  

The Guardians also announced today an increase in resources dedicated to responsible investment.

"Responsible investment is an important part of our investment mandate which is why we are bolstering our expertise with the appointment of additional specialist analyst", said the Guardians' Chief Executive Officer, Mr Adrian Orr.    

"We need to work alongside other like minded funds, including other Crown Financial Institutions, in order to be effective in our responsible investment activities."  

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For more information please contact: Anne-Maree O'Connor, Head of Responsible Investment, New Zealand Superannuation Fund, 09 300-6980.

Notes for Editors:
For further information please go to our Responsible Investment page on our website or click on the link here.     

About the New Zealand Superannuation Fund:
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which commenced investing at the end of September 2003, is designed to partially provide for the future cost of New Zealand superannuation. An ageing population means the cost of providing New Zealand superannuation is expected to double over the next 50 years. To prepare for this, the Government plans to allocate around $2 billion a year to the Fund over the next 20 years while the cost of superannuation is relatively low. In the meantime, the Fund will invest the money on a prudent but commercial basis.   As the cost of superannuation escalates, the Government will progressively draw on the Fund to help smooth the impact on its finances. As at 30 September 2008 the value of the Fund was $13.6 billion. The Fund is expected to grow to around $109 billion by 2025.   In addition to best-practice management portfolio, and to avoid prejudice to New Zealand's reputation as a responsible member of the world community, the Fund's objective is to maximise returns without undue risk to the Fund as a whole, and expects to exceed, before tax, the risk-free rate of return (measured as the yield on 90-day Treasury bills) by an average of at least 2.5% p.a. over rolling 20-year periods.

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