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Welcome to our final edition of RIAA Window for 2019.  

It’s been a bumper few months, with the launch of RIAA’s Responsible Investment Super Study 2019, the results of our Responsible Investment New Zealand Consumer Survey 2019, our Annual Report and our 3 Year Strategy.

We are currently surveying Australian investors for their views on all things impact investing, to inform our Australian Impact Investment Survey and Benchmark Report 2020. If you’re an Australian investor, then we want to hear your thoughts on the growing field of impact investing.  Fill out the survey here.

We wish you all the best for the festive season and look forward to an even bigger year in responsible investing as we celebrate our 20 year anniversary in 2020!
Last week RIAA launched the Responsible Investment Super Study 2019 presenting the results of an annual survey of Australia’s 57 largest superannuation funds – accounting for $1.75 trillion in assets under management. 

Supported by Amundi Asset Management, this year’s report shows that the MySuper options of Australian super funds comprehensively engaging in responsible investment outperform other super funds’ My Super options over 1, 3 and 5-year time frames. 

The report also shows that in the face of rising public concern and increasing financial materiality of climate change, the consideration of climate risk by super fund boards continues to grow, but there remains much room for improvement.  Read CEO Simon O’Connor’s thought piece on why it’s critical for super funds to engage in responsible investing and exercise their ownership on issues such as climate change and human rights.
Early bird tickets are now on sale for RI Australia 2020, the biggest responsible investment conference in the Southern hemisphere. With RIAA celebrating its 20th anniversary, RI Australia 2020 will bring together the industry to reflect on the progress made in responsible investing, shine a light on the pioneers and leaders in the space, and focus in on the pathways and opportunities for driving stronger financial and impact performance into the future.   

Highlights include:
  • In depth exploration of the urgent challenges we face by experts spanning key Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political insights into the role of finance in Australia's coming decade
  • Investing for 1.5 degrees – benchmarking our progress
  • Deep dives – unpacking how we respond to challenges using responsible, ethical and impact investment – topics including human rights and modern slavery, animal welfare, impact management and measurement, alternative ownership models, responsible investment in Indigenous Australia and beyond our borders, and benchmarking in an age of responsible investment and passive investing
  • Financial Adviser Stream: a series of sessions for advisers and wealth managers
  • Masterclasses: gender lens investing, RI certification and responsible investment product insights

Get your tickets here.
The NZ market continues to move forward on responsible investment at what appears to be an ever increasing rate with some significant recent developments.

In October RIAA launched our Responsible Investment New Zealand Consumer Survey 2019, a study of 1000 Kiwis and their preferences and views around ethical and responsible investment, done in collaboration with Mindful Money. The research shows that more than 8 in 10 New Zealanders (83%) expect their KiwiSaver or other investments to be invested responsibly and ethically.  Download the full study here.

The Financial Markets Authority recently closed a consultation on proposed guidance around responsible investment and green bonds. RIAA made a submission to this process that can be read here.

In a major financial services sector collaboration, the Aotearoa Circle's Sustainable Finance Forum launched its interim report in Late October, a summary of potential pathways to green finance, financing green and changing mindsets in a way that embeds sustainability into the financial services sector.  The report is well worth a read. 

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is currently undertaking a consultation on the implementation of TCFD recommendations in the NZ market, to which RIAA is preparing our submission currently. More about the consultation here. 
RIAA would like to congratulate a number of financial adviser members which have been named in this year’s Financial Standard Power50 most influential advisers in Australia:

  • Karen McLeod – Ethical Investment Advisers
  • James Baird – Just Invest 
  • Dave Rae – Federation Financial Services
  • Sue Dahn – Pitcher Partners
  • Marshall Brentnall - Evalesco

Financial Standard editor Jamie Williamson said: “The list is full of advisers whose ethics and convictions stand firm above all else. The younger generation wants their values considered in their investments and financial decisions. Advisers who cater to that and consider a client’s ethical values as part of their holistic plan are bound to flourish”. We couldn’t agree more!
With less than a month until FASEA’s Code of Ethics comes into force on January 1, the debate around the interpretation of the standards continues to play out. A number of RIAA members were in the media recently expressing their views on the interpretation of Standard 6, which requires advisers to consider the broader and longer-term interests of the client. 

The FASEA Code is about delivering higher standards of behaviour and professionalism in the financial advice sector. Standard 6 expresses a need for advisers to consider their client's broader long term interests and goes further in explanatory statements to ask whether those broader long term interests would require recommendations to be in ethical or responsible investment options.  

RIAA's view is that to properly consider the broader, long-term interests of clients, advisers should be building in appropriate questions about the ethical and sustainability preferences of clients into meetings with every client, and that to fulfil the needs of those clients, that they should have access to responsible and ethical investment products on their approved product list in order to provide appropriate recommendations for those interested clients. Read more in our recent blog.
RIAA’s Member Human Rights Working Group finished up the year with the launch of Modern Slavery Reporting – Guide for Investors; a best practice guide for investors reporting under the Australian Government’s Modern Slavery Act launched by RIAA and ACSI. The Guide helps explain what that looks like from an investor perspective, for those selecting and assessment managers as well as those undertaking direct investments for their portfolios. 
The project was led for RIAA’s Member HRWG by Mans Carlsson Sweeney, Head of ESG Research at Ausbil Investment Management Limited. About this latest initiative, Mans said ‘modern slavery is a complex issue and investors can have an important role through engagement with companies. The issue of modern slavery is more than just an ethical issue, ultimately, it comes down to earnings sustainability risk’.

The Investor Guide was just one of the excellent project initiated and delivered by members during 2019 - including helping support the Work Force Disclosure Initiative (Ied by First State Super and Cbus), providing a beta version of HRWG Resources Tool (Action Sustainability and RIAA) and StockWatch (generously provided during by ISS ESG).
Research is now underway for RIAA's Australian Impact Investment Survey and Benchmark Report 2020. Supported by AMP Capital and conducted in partnership with Deakin University, this important piece of research unpacks awareness, interest, intentions and preferences of investors regarding impact investing; current practice and aspirations around impact management and measurement; and impact investing activity in Australia including financial and impact performance.

The first part of this research is a survey of Australian investors for their views on all things impact investing. Whether you are an active impact investor or not active in impact investing, so long as you’re an investor, we’d love to hear from you before mid-January. Find out more and complete the survey here.

Congratulations to RIAA members HESTA, Kilter Rural, Impact Investment Group’s Lane Crockett and Social Ventures Australia’s Elyse Sainty who took out awards at the recent 2019 Australian Impact Investment Awards.
RIAA is hiring for a dynamic Communications & Media Coordinator to join our team in Melbourne. This person will play a pivotal role in building awareness of and participation in responsible, ethical and impact investing with a broad range of stakeholders, from consumers to financial institutions. 

Applications close Tuesday 13 January. To download the position description and find out more, visit our website.
Teachers Mutual Bank Limited is one of Australia’s largest mutual banks, comprising four brands: the original Teachers Mutual Bank, UniBank, Firefighters Mutual Bank and Health Professionals Bank. They have over 200,000 members and have more than $8 billion in assets. RIAA spoke with Corin Millais, Manager – Ethical Business Strategy, about TMBL’s approach to and initiatives around responsible investment. Read more.
RIAA has just released two important documents: one that capture our activities and performance over this past year, and another setting out our plans for the coming three years. 

At RIAA's AGM last week, RIAA was pleased to present our Annual Report FY2019; we commend you to have a read of our work over the previous year. 

We recently also launched our new 3-Year Strategy 2020-2022, our plan that positions RIAA to be the key platform supporting the finance sector to play a central role in addressing important and urgent social, environmental and economic challenges in this decade ahead.

This 3-Year Strategy is the first strategy for RIAA in what is shaping up to be a critical decade for the globe to work together to achieve the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, both of which are essential to underpin a prosperous long term economy.  We acknowledge that the role of the finance sector in delivery of these goals is essential and RIAA is uniquely positioned as an industry platform to help drive that collaborative effort. 

RIAA is shifting emphasis in this Strategy from growth of the sector to the quality and impact of the sector. This will ensure that the momentum of our growing responsible investment and sustainable finance community is directed to fulfilling its promise in creating positive environmental, social and economic outcomes. 
Last week, RIAA held its AGM in Sydney. We are pleased welcome four new directors to the RIAA board together with the re-election of two directors. Directors who were elected onto the board in 2019 are:

  • Dave Rae - from Federation Financial Services 
  • Farren Williams - from Koda Capital
  • Kathryn McDonald - from AXA Investment Managers
  • Grace Palos - from Future Super 
  • Pablo Berrutti of Stewart Investors - re-elected
  • Ross Piper of Christian Super - re-elected

We would also like to acknowledge and thank Sarah Barker, Peter Murphy and Phil Vernon, who have left the board following this AGM. We are grateful for their wonderful contribution to the board over many years.
If you’re a professional working in responsible investment, facing a recruitment challenge to find an addition to your team, often you’re presented with an array of impressive resumes. Richard Evans from Talent Nation discusses, how to hire the right people in the responsible investment space. Read more.
RIAA’s membership continues to grow and we now have over 270 members who combined, manage over $9 trillion in assets globally. We welcome our newest members:

  • Aberdeen Standard Investments
  • Adamantem Capital
  • Amanda Miller
  • Andrew Ainsworth
  • Andrew White
  • Anthony Roe
  • Ben Newman
  • C2C Partners Ltd
  • Daintree Capital
  • Erica Miles
  • Fiona Thomas
  • Joshua Edmunds
  • MackayRMS
  • Mark Holtom
  • Marshall Brentnall
  • Matthew Chambers
  • Michael Harwood
  • Michael Pescott
  • Nicholas Ross
  • Partnership Wealth
  • Paul Galland
  • Perennial Small Companies
  • Sam Cox
  • Strabo Rivers
  • Tom Lambert
  • Trent Savage
  • Trevor O’Callaghan
  • Zarmeen Pavri

To view RIAA’s full membership list, including member profiles, please see here.

Interested in joining RIAA? See our membership guide here, or contact Josh Edmunds.
As at December 2019, RIAA’s RI Certification Program has 175 approved investment options from 48 providers covering the following product types: deposit/savings account, exchange traded fund, fund/trust, investment management service, Kiwisaver, listed investment company, separately managed account, superfund option, superfund whole of fund, mortgage backed product and term deposit/short term deposit.

The Program also has 22 Certified financial advisers across Australia and New Zealand and 1 financial planning group. 

New certified products 
There is a number of new Certified products coming through our pipeline; most recently the Foresight Renewable Energy Income Fund.

New product certification criteria
RIAA members re-certifying products are now familiar with our new criteria and many products are well under way with their re-assessment process. Several products will become due for re-certification in the next quarter and it is imperative that these issuers are fully aware of the new criteria. The Certification Program Standard shows the certification assessment criteria. 

You can find the full list and more detailed information about each certified product and fund at Responsible Returns, RIAA’s dedicated consumer portal for finding certified responsible investment opportunities.
Responsible Investment Association Australasia
Suite 401, Level 4, 478 George Street, NSW 2000
+61 2 8228 8100


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