2 Sep 2016

BNZ latest to review KiwiSaver weapons investments

3:06 pm on 2 September 2016

BNZ and ASB are the latest banks to announce they will either review or ditch KiwiSaver investments in companies that make cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines or nuclear weapons.

BNZ Wellington.

BNZ is the last of the default KiwiSaver providers to review its investments in companies that manufacture contentious weapons. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

An RNZ investigation found nine default KiwiSaver providers had either direct or indirect investments in such companies, despite them being banned by government agencies such as the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and ACC.

BNZ said it would review its investment policies, making it the last of the nine providers to review or dump investments in companies that make contentious weapons.

BNZ indirectly invests in the company General Dynamics, which the New Zealand Superannuantion Fund excludes because its research showed it makes cluster munitions.

However, based on its latest research, General Dynamics did not currently manufacture the weapons, BNZ said.

ASB announced today it had completed its review of its investments and would ditch holdings in global index-tracking funds that had exposure to those types of companies.

The move was in response to its review and feedback from customers, the bank said.

The divesting process was already under way and was expected to be completed by 10 October.

"We are continuing to look at whether there is another way we can provide investors with an alternative low-cost index-tracking investment option that focuses on socially responsible investments," ASB said.

Reserve Bank's pension fund investments questioned

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank said its pension fund would exit some investments that could be involved in the manufacturer of cluster bombs.

Trustees of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Staff Superannuation and Provident Fund had found one of its funds held shares in General Dynamics and another American firm, Textron, that may be involved in the industry.

Trustees chair Geoff Bascand said the fund would get rid of the investments quickly.

"Trustees will act expeditiously to eliminate our exposure to these firms. The Bank has requested that trustees adopt a socially responsible investment policy and we will consider the matter at our next meeting."

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