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Investing ethically can be good for the wallet

 

Ensuring your super fund or shares are invested ethically means you won’t have to worry that you’re contributing to the CSG industry, among others. Photo Marie Cameron

Ensuring your super fund or shares are invested ethically means you won’t have to worry that you’re contributing to the CSG industry, among others. Photo Marie Cameron

The Responsible Investment Association Australasia has reminded the workforce that those against coal seam gas (CSG) may unwittingly be investing in CSG via their superannuation fund.

Ethical investment adviser Louise Edkins told Echonetdaily, ‘If you are in a retail superannuation fund, industry superannuation fund or in any of the large managed funds in the country, then you will probably be investing in coal seam gas’.

‘This is because the coal seam gas companies are among the largest 100 stocks in the country in which these funds have an investment allocation.’

But Ms Edkins says the good news is that there are ways to take action. ‘Write to your superannuation fund and ask them to avoid investing in coal seam gas,’ she says. ‘Consider the ethical investment choice in your superannuation fund (if one is offered). Consult a specialist ethical investment adviser so that you can get transparency and control over the investments you own.

‘If you have your own share portfolio, consult a specialist ethical investment adviser to see if your shares have exposure to coal seam gas or any other activities which are in conflict with your values.

‘And seek investments and stocks which have a positive impact and good financial performance.’

CSG one of the largest 100 stocks

She says shareholders in coal seam gas companies can also voice their opinion at annual general meetings (AGM), or find out if there is a shareholder action group you can join.

‘If you decide to join the growing number of investors who are moving their money away from activities like coal seam gas, you’ll be in good company,’ she says. ‘The latest figures from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) say that “The responsible investment sector today forms approximately 18 per cent of total assets under management in Australia, amounting to $180 billion (including New Zealand)”.

‘“Performance of ethical share funds has been excellent with some returning up to 34.6 per cent per annum as at January 31, 2013,” (Source: Morningstar Research). The best performing Australian share fund in the country was an ethically screened share fund beating mainstream share fund competitors.

‘The past performance of ethical share funds has also been strong over the long term.’

The Average Responsible Investment Australian Share Fund returned 8.38 per cent compared to 8.38 per cent for the ASX 300 Accumulation Index and 7.63 per cent for the Average Mainstream Australian Share Fund. These returns are net of management fees as at June 30, 2011 (Source: Responsible Investment Association Australasia Benchmarking Report 2011).

Ethical Investment advisers will be hosting a free information evening on Tuesday March 19 at the Byron Bay Community Centre, starting at 6 pm.

Numbers are limited, so please RSVP via their www.ethicalinvestment.com.au.


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