Clients are starting to ask about ESG in insurance advice

Goodreturns looks like it enjoyed writing the headline for its recent article on the extent of KiwiSaver investments in weapons manufacturers: 

    "Boom: 88 KiwiSaver funds invested in nukes"

KiwiSavers have all sorts of different views, levels of engagement, and outlooks - but a great deal of them do not like the idea of "investing in nukes". Unpack that belief and the reality - investing in a large weapons manufacturer - may in fact be acceptable to some and completely unacceptable to others. The point here is not to make a judgement about whether these things are right or wrong. The point is that the concept of ethical, sustainable, and governance requirements is already bigger than the investment sector. It affects all forms of client spending.

The questions can be raised in shocking ways, at a time that will not be chosen by either advisers or product providers. Greenpeace had a very successful piece of shock-marketing when it ran a mock advert for milk highlighting the way Orangutan habitat is affected by development. We need to have good answers to the questions when they come. Even though I maintain large databases on all sorts of insurers and adviser groups I would struggle to quickly identify good data on ESG issues. It is an area I am determined to address in the coming year. Your thoughts on the subject are welcome too - do drop me a line.