The Responsible Investment Association of Australasia has revised its certification program, giving its highest marks to three super funds.
RIAA's Responsible Investment Certification Program is designed to award investment products, super funds, dealer groups and individual advisers for their commitment to responsible or "ethical" investments - specifically, those that focus on environmental, social and governance issues. The upgraded program places special emphasis on internal governance and verification processes for eligible investors.
The "highest rating" a super fund can receive via this program is the Certified Super Fund (Whole of Fund) award, which requires that funds have two responsible investment strategies, 75% of assets under management under those strategies, disclose their full holdings, engage in proxy voting and advocate for responsible investment throuighout the market.
Under the new program, the three super funds with this certification are Australian Ethical, Local Government Super and Christian Super.
Commenting on the announcement, Australian Ethical managing director Phil Vernon said, "Australians are increasingly embracing ethical investing, which we saw reflected in our own business results announced last week. Over the course of 2015, our funds under management grew by 35%, inflows doubled and super fund membership grew by 11%. This was in the context of strong investment performance, with all of our key funds reporting top quartile performance.
"The RIAA Certification awarded to Australian Ethical is the most robust available. We are one of only three super funds to receive certification across the whole fund, meaning ethical investment practices are embedded in our DNA."
Christian Super chief investment officer Tim Macready also commented, saying, "The RIAA Superannuation Fund Responsible Investment Certification is a valuable recognition of the work that our Fund does to achieve good outcomes for our members using ethical and sustainable decision making principles and processes. We are privileged to be able to manage our members' money in accordance with Biblical principles so that their superannuation can change the world for the better."
Finally, Local Government Super chief executive Peter Lambert added, "LGS is one of the first super funds to be certified by RIAA's new program. We will receive the RIAA responsible investor trade mark for our whole super fund, which endorses our long-standing commitment to superior environmental, social and governance performance and ethical investment management and advice."
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