BNZ introduces global equities exclusions

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BNZ has today announced it has developed a responsible investment policy which has led to a number of exclusions being applied to its international equity holdings. Companies involved in the production of cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines, nuclear weapons and tobacco or tobacco products are excluded.

“In the last 3.5 years our funds under management have grown from $1.5 billion to almost $4 billion today, so we’ve undertaken a comprehensive review of our investment business,” BNZ Head of Wealth and Private Bank Donna Nicolof says.

In the past BNZ invested in commingled funds alongside other institutional investors.

“Our growth gives us the ability to leverage the scale across our wealth business to establish discrete mandates with investment managers, which gives us greater control of where and how our customers’ money is invested. This is a journey for us,” Nicolof says.

“We have been developing our approach to responsible investing over the past six months to ensure we have a robust framework where investment decisions align with both our investment beliefs and the changing attitudes of our investors and society,” she says.

“One of our key investment beliefs is that risk and return are equally important and we have made the decision to exclude companies involved in the manufacture of tobacco on the basis that there is no safe level of use and engagement with these companies is futile. The regulatory and litigation risks faced by this industry are significant,” Nicolof says.

“As investment markets in New Zealand continue to mature – consideration of Environmental, Social and Governance factors is becoming increasingly important,” she says.

“Our investment philosophy spans all investments we make on behalf of customers and includes the investments of the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme.”