Govt tweaks KiwiSaver settings to put more money in investor accounts and excludes fossil fuels
1st March 2020
By Susan Edmonds, Stuff.co.nz 1 March, 2020 The government has made KiwiSaver default funds required to be balance funds and not conservatively invested, this means more money invested in growth assets such as shares. While there may be more volatility for balances as a result, customers who do nothing should end up better off over the long term because growth assets outperform over time. It has also required default funds to exclude investment in fossil fuels.
Barry Coates, who founded Mindful Money, a platform that allows investors to see what their KiwiSaver funds are invested in, said there was about $62 million invested in fossil fuel companies from KiwiSaver default members who had not made an active choice about their funds. He said a move away from fossil fuels should help boost their returns, too. "There's increasing evidence that fossil fuels are not good investments."
The Government had pondered introducing a wider responsible investment mandate for default funds and Coates said it would have been better if it went beyond fossil fuels to exclude other investments that drove social or environmental harm. As it was, he said the fossil fuel ban should be extended across all KiwiSaver funds.