Value investing…a wider perspective.
There is currently increasing worldwide interest in aligning personal values with investing. The other term used for this is “Socially Responsible Investing” (SRI). We have a long way to go in New Zealand but nothing happens if you do not start!
Big Questions for Our Time
……..as raised by the NZ Council for Responsible Investing
Would you invest in a company that:
- uses child labour?
- pollutes land and rivers?
- desecrates the value system and values of a society?
- is owned by organised crime?
- has associations with terrorist organisations?
For most people the answer to these provocative questions would be a resounding “No”.
Yet, how can investors be assured about the type of investment they are making? How do we, so far from the rest of the world, know whether the practices of the offshore organisations we’re investing in are ethical and sustainable? What are the validated measures that we can used to verify actions against promises? And are our on-shore organisations performing as we think they should?
Strategic been waiting several years to be able to offer clients the opportunity to have their values reflected in their portfolios. In the US, UK and Australia there has been no lack of opportunity. Some earlier funds in New Zealand closed through lack of support. Interest has now increased alongside the options available. Good stewardship of your capital can now return “twice”. In New Zealand we have some way to go before we can fully implement this but we are committed to the journey.
One of the Fund Mangers used by Strategic is Hunter Hall in Australia and their website provides a good oversight of the range of funds available http://www.hunterhall.com.au.
An example from an Investment Trust with a SRI focus is BlackRock’s New Energy Fund whose aim is to generate long-term capital growth by investing globally in companies which have a significant focus on alternative energy or energy technology. Great concept but performance has been poor. Just because something is socially responsible it does not mean performance will be good. It also will be subject to market forces. Long term investment horizons are vital.