This week’s Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) New Zealand conference is a ‘sold-out’ affair, according to the organisation’s local rep and head of third-party fund marketing firm The Investment Store, Matthew Mimms.
Mimms, who has helped pull together the Kiwi leg of the RIAA conference since its inception, said the 2015 conference would be the best-attended of the events to date.
While entry is free to the RIAA, space is at a premium this year, he said.
“This is our sixth [RIAA NZ] conference but it’s the first time we’ve had to turn people away,” he said. “At 130 delegates we have a full house… we usually get about 100 to come along.”
Mimms said the popularity of the RIAA conference reflected the growing recognition of the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues among both retail and institutional investors in New Zealand.
In August this year the RIAA published the first stand-alone report on the state of responsible investing in New Zealand. The RIAA said while there had been overall growth in assets managed according to ESG principles (mostly due to the efforts of the Crown financial institutions), the NZ funds management industry had been slow to adopt international best practice in the field compared to its Australian counterpart.
Simon O’Connor, RIAA chief executive, said at the time only nine NZ fund managers had signed up to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI) compared to 73 in Australia.
“Some large NZ asset managers are absent from the conversation,” he said in August.
O’Connor will be one of the speakers at the RIAA NZ conference to be held at the Hilton Hotel this Tuesday in Auckland. Other keynote speakers include: Fraser and Matt Whineray (Mighty River Power head and New Zealand Superannuation Fund chief investment officer, respectively); Paul Glass, head of Devon Funds Management, and; Martin Skancke, PRI chair.