Who are RIAA’s 10 Super Fund Leaders?

5 December 2023
| By Laura Dew |
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The Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) has identified 10 super funds that are leaders in responsible investment and ESG.

The organisation’s super study found these fund leaders are holding $783 billion and represent 19 per cent of all super funds.

Responsible leaders are those funds that demonstrate a comprehensive responsible investment approach across seven areas including governance and accountability, implementation, commitment and transparency, and responsiveness.

The 10 funds are: 

  • Australian Ethical Super
  • AustralianSuper
  • Aware Super
  • CareSuper
  • Cbus Super 
  • HESTA
  • Future Super
  • Rest
  • TelstraSuper
  • UniSuper 

RIAA said the number of leaders is down by three funds from last year’s study as the result of merger activity, but also noted it “proved more difficult” for funds to reach the requirements this year. It posited this was because merger and restructure activity is taking their focus away from ESG processes and from missing information such as corporate engagement or stewardship data.

On the case of missing information, RIAA noted some super funds had withdrawn their responsible investment commitments from public view in response to ASIC action on greenwashing that has already resulted in several corporate actions.

All of the 10 leaders had appointed women to at least 30 per cent of their trustee roles and eight had higher than 50 per cent female representation.

Zsuzsa Banhalmi-Zakar, research manager at RIAA said: “Aussies that are choosing to align their super with their values are not losing out on returns, demonstrating that strong financial performance and investing ethically are not mutually exclusive.

“Australians are now better equipped to determine which companies and funds their super invests in and decide for themselves if it measures up to their values. Transparency of super fund portfolios is essential to monitoring potential greenwashing, although the current legislation does not include all underlying holdings.

“There is of course room to improve transparency practices elsewhere. For instance, only 30 per cent of super funds publish voting records and even fewer publish their voting intentions before voting.”

Last month, RIAA appointed two new chief executives who will take over from Simon O’Connor as he departs the organisation after more than a decade. Taking a trans-Tasman approach for the first time, Estelle Parker will represent Australia and Dean Hegarty will represent New Zealand.
 

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