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Mercer KiwiSaver Funds To Adopt A More Focused Approach On Socially Responsible Investment Strategies

New Zealand, 21 April 2021 – Mercer New Zealand has announced significant changes to its KiwiSaver products, continuing to enhance its responsible investing approach, with all NZD $2.4 billion in Mercer’s KiwiSaver funds to be invested in more focused socially responsible investment strategies.

In addition to the market standard exclusions, the new changes include divestments from shares in companies involved in the most carbon intensive industries, gambling, adult entertainment, tobacco and alcohol related activities. The changes go beyond exclusions to positively include a greater impact investing approach across Mercer’s KiwiSaver funds, working with managers to invest actively in industries that generate positive and measurable social and environmental impacts, while delivering investment returns.

Sarah Whitelock, Consumer Wealth Leader for Mercer New Zealand said addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors was critical, and the approach was also grounded in delivering sustainable investment returns over the long-term, benefitting both society and individual wealth.

“Last September we announced that our default KiwiSaver Conservative fund would prioritise responsible investing strategies, and we were encouraged by the positive response from the market. We know that investing responsibly is important to New Zealanders, who have resoundingly expressed their intention to invest ethically,” Ms Whitelock said.

“Applying these changes to the rest of our KiwiSaver portfolio is a natural next step for us in ensuring our investment strategy captures our customers’ values, and above all delivers sustainable returns to New Zealanders.

"New Zealanders have the power to use their choice as their voice, and they’re telling us they want more socially responsible investments. We believe our offering sets us apart with a more focused approach on socially responsible investment strategies, which aligns with what matters to New Zealanders,” said Ms Whitelock.

Ronan McCabe, Mercer New Zealand’s Chief Investment Officer, said the changes were in line with Mercer’s investment beliefs.

“As global leaders in responsible investing, our research and modelling has consistently supported our belief that responsible investing leads to investment returns over time which support better retirement outcomes for our members,” Mr McCabe said.

“Strengthening our socially responsible investment strategies across all our KiwiSaver funds marks a continuation of our investment approach that incorporates ESG characteristics into our investment decisions. We look forward to making further announcements on our progress,” he said.

The funds will allocate assets to sectors making positive social and environmental impact, such as renewable and alternative energy, water infrastructure and technologies, pollution control, and health.

The changes will be completed by the end of June this year and member fees are not impacted.

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