A new responsible-investing focused funds management group is trying to get off the ground for launch next year.
The currently anonymous entity is searching for a chief investment officer to help run the prospective environmental, social and governance (ESG)-flavoured fund.
According to the job advertisement, the CIO would need a “strong profile” and connections in the NZ funds industry, good knowledge of responsible investing (including ‘green finance’) and “existing relationships” with the regulator.
If it goes ahead, the new fund business would need to secure a managed investment scheme (MIS) licence from the FMA. To date, the regulator has issued 68 MIS licences but only one each year since the initial onslaught of applications in 2016.
The CIO role – potentially a four-day working week position – would also be required to:
- assist in establishing the fund from ground-up;
- develop the statement of investment policies and objectives (SIPO) as well as selecting initial and ongoing portfolio constituents;
- guide regulatory applications for manager licence and scheme registration including attending FMA meetings;
- build the fund’s profile as a diverse organisation; and,
- actively promoting the fund via online and offline means including regular blogs and attending industry events.
Targeting a launch early-to-mid 2019, the ESG fund founder was already sounding out “key organisations to ensure sustainable competitive advantage”.
“The fund has a clear sustainability / ESG focus and is set to make innovative direct private market, as well as public market, investments,” the ad says.
NZ saw a record spike in ESG investing over 2016 following a public outcry over KiwiSaver scheme exposure to controversial weapons. The Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) reported a 2,500 per cent increase in funds managed under some kind of ESG filter in NZ over the 2016 year.
Following publication of the NZ benchmark report in 2017, RIAA chief, Simon O’Connor, said: “We have never seen a market switch so rapidly to responsible investment. It’s one of the most significant global changes to happen to the sector in 2016.”
RIAA is due to publish its next annual NZ benchmark report on August 16.