The government has banned semi-automatic and military-style weapons from being owned in New Zealand.

Research by KiwiSaver provider Simplicity has found five out of 21 KiwiSaver providers have specific bans on investing in firearms manufacturing companies.

Read more:
Guns, Facebook and Google - investment managers' dilemma

Those providers are Nikko, Juno, Amanah and KiwiWealth and Simplicity.

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Outside of the five, Booster, Quay Street and SuperLife offer specific ethical or responsible investment funds which screen out all armaments investments.

The Herald asked 16 KiwiSaver providers whether they had any direct or indirect (through index funds) investments in gun manufacturers/sellers or munition manufacturers/sellers and what they planned to do about it.

Here are the responses:

AMP:

As part of our ongoing review process across all the companies and areas our fund managers invest in, we will review any indirect holdings in companies with connections to firearms to ensure investments continue to reflect our clients' and community's values. This is consistent with our current scrutiny of specific social media companies in response to recent events.

ANZ:

ANZ specifically excludes investments in companies that are involved in making cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines, and the manufacturing or testing of nuclear weapons. (Tobacco products are also excluded).
We do have holdings in companies who are involved in the manufacture of Defence componentry (totalling less than one per cent of funds under management). One is a company that manufactures military gun components and accounts for 0.0001 per cent of ANZ's total funds under management. We are not invested in any civilian gun makers.
We are a signatory to the United Nations supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and as such we are continually reviewing our investments.

Aon:

We believe a sustainable Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) investment strategy must balance a complex set of factors, including our customers' values, Aon's fiduciary duty to seek and maximise investment returns, and the consideration of appropriate risk constraints.

We can confirm Aon's KiwiSaver scheme and our underlying fund managers comply with all aspects of current New Zealand legislation. Any future changes to legislation will also be incorporated into the management of our members' assets.

ASB:

We do not have exposure to any companies that both manufacture and sell assault weapons to civilian customers. We are reviewing whether there are any other categories of companies that we should exclude to be aligned with the Government's incoming regulations on weapons.

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BNZ:

We support the moves announced by the government, and our KiwiSaver fund does not have investments in gun or munition manufacturers, nor in dedicated gun or munition retailers.

Through our investment managers, there may be some investments in companies that sell guns as a non-core part of their business. For example, we have less than $1m invested in Walmart.

We note that in 2015 Walmart tightened restrictions on the types of guns they sell, raising the age to 21, ending sales of modern sports rifles like AR-15s, handguns, bump-stocks, high capacity magazines and similar accessories. They also stopped selling toys and airsoft guns that resemble these firearms. You can see their full statement here: https://news.walmart.com/2018/02/28/walmart-statement-on-firearms-policy
We are checking with our fund managers about whether there are any other investments in foreign companies similar to Walmart, where guns and ammunition are an additional and non-core part of their offering.

BNZ's responsible investment policy doesn't explicitly include gun manufacturers or retailers, but we constantly review it to ensure it's doing what our customers expect of us.

Booster:

None of our funds currently holds any direct investment in companies involved in either the manufacture or selling of military-style semi-automatic guns and assault rifles. We will continue to ban any direct investments in these companies.

Our current Responsible Investment policy will also be updated to specifically add this controversial activity to the exclusion list.

Some major retailers stock guns on their shelves. Photo/Getty Images.
Some major retailers stock guns on their shelves. Photo/Getty Images.

As a result, we will be commencing discussions with the suppliers of the index funds used in our core KiwiSaver funds (e.g. Vanguard) to identify the extent to which any of those companies might be included in those indices and to determine the best course of action for their practical exclusion.

Booster's SRI fund options have never held and will continue to exclude all armaments companies.

Fisher Funds:

Fisher Funds has no investment exposure to civilian gun manufacturers within any of our investment portfolios. We conducted an extra screen over our portfolios after the events of last Friday to ensure this was the case.

Fisher Funds has also applied a specific exclusion on gun manufacturers so that Fisher Funds will not invest in civilian gun manufacturers in the future.

As a smart active investment Manager, Fisher Funds gets to directly select the stocks and bonds that are consistent with our responsible investment policy. It is just one aspect that separates smart active investment management from other investment styles.

Generate:

We can confirm that the portfolios currently do not hold any gun manufacturers directly or through the underlying managers. Some of the underlying managers have small positions in conglomerates (Boeing and Airbus, Rolls Royce and General Electric) that generate a portion of their revenues from defence businesses (e.g. military aircraft and related products), but the majority of revenues generated by these conglomerates are from their better known civilian businesses.

Generate's Responsible investment policy excludes direct and underlying Fund investments into companies involved in: cluster munitions; anti-personnel mines; chemical weapons; nuclear weapons; whaling; or manufacture of tobacco. As part of this policy, we regularly check that the underlying managers do not hold companies in breach of our policy. The policy can be found here for further details.

Lifestages:

FANZ chief executive Graham Duston has confirmed they removed the FANZ Lifestages KiwiSaver scheme from those types of investments two or three years ago, when there had been wider conversations around munition investments.

Milford Asset Management:

Milford does not invest in gun companies.

NZ Funds:

All money NZ Funds manages is managed for social good.

We work with the international organisation ISS-Ehix to screen our investments.
Our monitoring indicates we have no gun manufacturers.

Westpac:

Funds in the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme are managed by BT Funds Management NZ (BTNZ). BTNZ's response follows:

In conjunction with an external provider, we have screened our portfolios for exposures to companies involved in the manufacture of, or component supply of assault weapons for civilians and based on this analysis confirm no exposure to manufacturers currently exists. We are investigating sellers further to identify and quantify any potential exposure.

We are reviewing our exclusion policy in response to the Government announcement on the ban on trading in military style semi-automatic weapons for civilian use. We are engaged with others in the industry on these emerging issues and we are expect to update our position as we get clarity on Government policy.

With regards to other firearms, in accordance with our responsible investing policy available on the Westpac website, our policy is to exclude securities where the inclusion may run contrary to New Zealand laws as well as international conventions to which New Zealand is a signatory. In addition, we will give special consideration to companies /industries involved in certain activities or breaches of accepted best practice standards where engagement with the company or industry does not achieve desired outcomes.

The following providers did not respond in time for deadline; Mercer, Milford, Quay St, Summer, SuperLife.