The Herald series Dirty Secrets of KiwiSaver analysed more than 100,000 individual assets held in nearly 500 individual KiwiSaver funds looking for 169 companies blacklisted by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.
Fund providers had a range of responses when asked to explain our findings - taken from KiwiSaver providers disclosure of holdings on March 31, 2016 - and their responsible investment policies.
In a statement Therese Singleton, AMP's General Manager of Insurance and Investments, said the KiwiSaver disclosures analysed by the Herald covered only funds managed by AMP Capital.
"AMP's levels of reporting and transparency around our Scheme and investments are well advanced compared to many providers," she said, adding they went further than those of rivals.
"As a market-leading provider of investments across most sectors of the global and New Zealand economy, we recognise the need to provide a range of investment options within our AMP KiwiSaver Scheme that reflect, support and balance the financial goals, values and investment beliefs of all our members," she said.
She said AMP offered the option of a specific "responsible investment" fund that had a policy of not investing in companies that made more than 10 percent of their revenue from alcohol, gaming, pornography, weapons production or nuclear power.
ANZ and OneAnswer:
"ANZ Group is currently conducting a review of the governance and selection criteria of its underlying investments. This will take into account the interests of our investors and a variety of stakeholders, and will include ESG (environmental, social, governance) considerations," a spokesperson said.
ANZ puts it relatively high proportion of blacklisted assets down to investments made in international equity indices.
"We are transparent about where our funds are invested and members can view a list provided annually of the companies their funds are invested in online at any time and we can change members' funds for them if they want," the spokesperson concluded.
I spokesperson for the company said; "We understand and acknowledge the concerns around this issue. We do have processes in place to check our fund's holdings. We are not aware of any non-compliance with any legislation. However, we are taking immediate steps to do a thorough review. "
An ASB spokesperson put its exposure to blacklisted assets down to using indiscriminate index-tracking investments, and said it had delegated responsible investment policies to professional fund managers.
"As stated in the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme's Product Disclosure Statement, currently, responsible investment, including environmental, social and governance considerations, is not taken into account.
"However, for several months now we have been reviewing our approach to responsible investing. The outcomes of this review might include whether there is another way that we can provide default fund investors with an alternative low cost, index-tracking investment option that focuses on socially responsible investments
A spokesperson for BNZ said their investment managers had "have established policies for factoring economic, social and governance considerations into their investment decision making process".
"Our disclosures are in line with the requirement of the KiwiSaver Act and additionally if clients wish to see a full list of security holdings we are more than happy to provide this.
"Determining what is controversial in a portfolio can be subjective and differences can occur based on the parameters and definitions of the research companies engaged by investment managers to review portfolios for exclusions," the spokesperson said.
Craigs Investment Partners, now QuayStreet Asset Management:
QuayStreet analyst Stefan Stevanovic said the stake in one company excluded by the NZSF that had formed part of theri KiwiSaver funds - a Canadian gold-mining firm - had been sold off some moths ago after the March 31 disclosures were made.
Stevanovic said they also offered a specific socially-responsible fund that screened out investments in the tobacco, alcohol, fossil-fuel, gambling, nuclear, arms and pornography industries.
"Other QuayStreet Funds do not have an explicit SR policy but given the Balanced SRI Fund does invest In many securities as other QuayStreet funds this screening process is generally applied firm-wide and can impact decision making for other Funds," he said.
Fisher Funds managing director Carmel Fisher said: "Our approach to date has been to avoid those areas that prove to be repugnant to a majority of our clients, but we otherwise avoid making ethical judgements on more ambiguous issues," she said.
"We systematically avoid any investment in tobacco and arms manufacturing businesses. This is a blanket rule across all of our investment strategies. It can prove challenging to define these exactly," she said, and contested some of the exclusion decisions made by the NZSF as they included relatively tiny parts of otherwise very large and legitimate businesses.
Did not respond.
Did not respond.
Kiwi Wealth chief investment officer Simon O'Grady aid in a statement all their funds ran on an responsible investment policy that avoided direct investments in armaments, tobacco and gambling.
"As a global investor, it's our job to constantly examine the companies and funds we're investing our members' funds in, and to make sure these are in line with our policy. We do this because environmental, social and governance considerations are as important to our members as they are to us," he said.
Graham Duston, executive director of SBS Bank who run Lifestages, said while they didn't intentionally mimic exclusion decisions made by the NZSF and didn't have a
"hard-coded approach" to responsible investing their lack of blacklisted stocks wasn't accidental.
"Frankly, the fact that we hold no funds that are excluded by the NZSF is a complete coincidence. However, this result is not a surprise to us. We only work with reputable, high quality and sound investment organisations and underlying funds and have taken this approach since FANZ's formation in 2002," he said.
A spokesperson for Mercer steered queries to their sustainable investment policy.
Did not respond.
A westpac spokesperson said: "Responsible investment, including environmental, social, and governance considerations, is not taken into account in the investment policies and procedures of the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme. This is disclosed in the Product Disclosure Statement for the scheme.
"A complete list of the portfolio holdings for each of the funds in the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme is publicly available and updated six monthly."