Frequently Asked Questions

Tokata Nugget Point

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Find out more about us

What is your process?

We start with an initial no-obligation chat, at our cost. If we’re the right firm for you, and we can add significant value, we would then have a follow-up ‘getting to know you’ meeting (again at no cost) at which point we’ll find out more around your values, who and what is important to you, your lifetime goals and objectives. We’ll confirm by email our understanding of your situation and what you want to achieve, and the fees for engaging our services to develop your personal financial plan. Once you engage us, we’ll set to work, gathering more information as needed, analysing and developing our recommendations, and presenting them to you in your personal Financial & Investment Plan. Once you’re happy to proceed, you’ll then engage us to implement the agreed recommendations – the start of a lifetime journey together.

You can find more details on our process here.

Do you offer free initial consultations before clients decide to proceed?

Great financial planning advice is based on building a lifetime relationship with you, one built on trust and commitment, where we can really make a difference to you and help you achieve your goals. The start is an initial meeting (in person or by Zoom), at no cost to you and with no obligation to proceed. It’s designed so we can find out more about your situation and what you’re looking for, for you to see how we work, if we can add real value and are the right adviser for you, and ultimately if it makes sense to carry on the conversation as the start of a lifetime relationship.

What are your fees?

We do not charge for an initial meeting to understand your situation and if we could add value.

If you do decide to engage us, we would charge a fee for the preparation of a financial/investment plan. Once the investment has been implemented, there would be fees to cover the ongoing advice, support and management of your portfolio. Further details of our fees can be found here.

What is your minimum investment?

We do not insist on a minimum investment, however we do apply a minimum ongoing fee of $2,000 per annum (plus gst) for the ongoing advice, support and management of your portfolio. Further details of our fees can be found here.

I don’t have a lump sum but can save, can you still help me?

We do have some clients looking to grow wealth to fund their lifestyle, through a combination of KiwiSaver and regular significant savings. Because we provide an integrated financial planning service, and this takes time, we do have a minimum fee for working with us of $2,000 pa (+ GST). This generally means you’ll be on a high income with little or no debt and able to save $5,000 per month or more.

What is the minimum timeframe for your investments?

Most of our clients want to invest for the medium to long-term, and want to work with an adviser over their lifetime. Our advice is generally provided on that basis, and the portfolios are designed to work over a number of years. We do not provide short-term ‘plan only’ advice. Sometimes clients with longer-term portfolios may want to invest some of their funds for a shorter time, to fund for example children’s education, and we are happy to provide this.

What are your ethical criteria?

Our recommended funds exclude nuclear and controversial weapons, alcohol, tobacco and (except one fund) gambling. Our recommended listed property fund does not have specific exclusions but this sector does not have exposure to the industries.

A number of the funds have additional screens such as ‘dirty’ fossil fuels, animal cruelty, pornography and child labour, and some have significantly reduced their overall exposure to fossil fuels.

The majority of our funds also have an active Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) engagement programme with the companies they invest in, looking to change companies’ behaviours.

Do ethical funds do worse than non-screened funds?

The long-term evidence is clear: not only do ethical funds not do worse than the average, they actually do better in the long run.

The best source is the annual research from the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA), based on Morningstar data. For the period to 31 Dec 2019 (the latest available) the average Australian balanced ethical fund returned 8.2% for the 10 years to 31/12/2019, compared to the market average of 6.9% – a significant 1.3% per annum out-performance. The out-performance was even bigger over the last 5 years, by some 2.2% per year. Ethical international share funds also did better than the average, though the gap was smaller, around 0.1% to 0.2% better over 5 and 10 years.

Ethical funds haven’t been going so long in New Zealand so we haven’t got very long-term results. Even so, RIAA’s research shows the typical ethical balanced fund outperformed the average by 2% per year over the past five years (to 31/12/19).

The 2020 information isn’t yet out, but we’d expect similar results. Last year, during the market crash in March following Covid, we saw non-screened portfolios go down over 5% further than a typical screened portfolio, largely a result of how badly fossil fuel companies were doing.

What is passive investing?

We believe the evidence is clear that it is not possible to consistently pick winners or time markets. Most ‘active’ stock-pickers under-perform their benchmarks. For example, in the US, in the 10 years to 31 December 2020, only 16% of managers beat the key benchmark (source S&P SPIVA report 31/12/20).

In contrast, ‘passive’ or index investing assumes that markets are efficient and doesn’t try to time markets or pick winners. This approach chooses investments that are broadly representative of the markets. Because it doesn’t need teams of expensive analysis, index funds are much cheaper than stock-picking funds, one reason why they generally out-perform.

We build our clients’ portfolios on a range of low-cost index-type funds. Occasionally we may use an ‘active’ fund if a client has a strong preference in a particular sector, for example sustainable energy.

Can I choose to exclude certain companies from my investment?

Ethical Investing NZ, along with our research partner My Fiduciary, work diligently looking for suitable investments to include within our portfolios. This would include funds and fund managers that pro-actively exclude companies scoring poorly in the space of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) as well as supporting those companies that score highly in this space. We look to build portfolios that meet key client concerns. However, because we build our portfolios using available ethical funds and not direct company investment, we are unable to exclude individual companies at the client’s request.

Do you accept commissions from any fund managers and if so, what do you do with that commission?

We are fee-based where possible, and on all lump-sum portfolio investments. We rebate any commission or brokerage we might be entitled to.

We may receive initial commission and/or ongoing brokerage from KiwiSaver providers but this does not influence or conflict any advice we give to our client in relation to their KiwiSaver.  We donate any initial commission received to Fair Food, a charity rescuing food otherwise going to waste and distributing it to those who need it most.