How Mindful Money works
31st March 2022
Mindful Money is a consumer-facing charity that aims to make money a force for good. We achieve change by empowering consumers, engaging the investment providers and advocating for a more supportive framework.
Mindful Money is a consumer-facing charity that aims to make money a force for good. We achieve change by empowering consumers, engaging the investment providers and advocating for a more supportive framework. These actions are playing a role in shifting investment from companies that do harm, to investment for good. Our annual impact report documents the progress we are making. As a new charity that started in mid-2019, we are encouraged by the response from all stakeholders and by the impact that we are already achieving.
A starting point is transparency. Consumers want to know where their money goes. Disclosure of the companies that are in portfolio holdings is a crucial step towards informing consumers and enabling them to align their portfolios with their values.
Our website www.mindfulmoney.nz has a Fund Checker that analyses portfolio holdings for all KiwiSaver and all retail investment funds, using information updated each six months on the Disclose register. Mindful Money extends the regulatory disclosure through adding indirect holdings in funds, allowing us to provide a portfolio view on a look-through basis.
The fund holdings are categorised by ‘issues of concern’ - the major issues that consumers want to avoid, as shown in annual surveys of the New Zealand public. We make this information available to the public free of charge.
Mindful Money’s Investment Committee has set criteria for funds that we consider ‘Mindful Funds’ – those meet our objective criteria for responsible investing:
· Avoiding harm
· Raising standards through engagement
· Investing in companies that have a positive social and/or environmental impact
In late 2022 the Mindful Money website will be extended to include additional investment information, including investor engagement with companies to improve their social and environmental performance, investments in companies that have a positive impact, and action on climate change.
When users are seeking to find a fund that aligns with their values, the Fund Finder tool highlights the Mindful Funds that most closely match their criteria. Mindful Funds contribute to the costs of Mindful Money’s website and core staff.
Outreach and education
The Mindful Money platform is a useful tool for the public, but it is only a small part of our overall work. We aim to build public awareness and understanding about ethical/responsible investment options, including our popular Ethical Investment Guide, online seminars and workplace seminars. Our model for change is built on informed and empowered investors acting as the drivers of change in ethical investment. Consumer outreach and engagement is at the core of our approach.
We also recognise there are allied organisations and networks that share our aims around climate action, sustainability, human rights, animal welfare and social equity. We have close relationships with a range of stakeholders including NGOs and civil society, academics, consumer groups, industry bodies such as Responsible Investment Association of Australasia and the Impact Investment Network.
Engagement with the Investment sector
Mindful Money is committed to working with all fund providers that are on the responsible investment journey, whether or not they currently meet the Mindful Funds criteria. We have frequent engagement with funds through direct contact and mechanisms such as online seminars, the annual survey of the public (jointly with RIAA) and initiatives such as the promotion of Net Zero, initiated in the run-up to COP26 in November 2021.
A highlight is the annual Ethical Investment Awards, celebrating the leading fund managers, financial advisers and media who are at the forefront of extending best practice.
The awards have a particular focus on impact investing – investments that have a positive social and/or environmental impact. This is of interest to a growing number of consumers and an area where fund managers are innovating with mechanisms to improve the impact of their investments. Mindful Money is actively promoting investment with a positive impact through a new website page, a mini-campaign and strong encouragement for providers to offer a wider range of funds, especially those for retail investors.
We welcome feedback, questions and suggestions.