Retail investors' growing climate agenda

Steven DeareAAP
Retail investors are putting climate information on the agenda for investing.
Camera IconRetail investors are putting climate information on the agenda for investing. Credit: AAP

Most `mum and dad' investors are increasing pressure on companies to detail how climate change might impact their savings and reveal what they are doing about the problem.

Almost 60 per cent of retail investors polled for a survey rated climate change information as at least "quite important" when deciding where they invest their money.

Chartered Accounts Australia and New Zealand for the first time included questions about the importance of climate information in its annual survey of 1024 Australian retail investors.

Only 16 per cent of respondents said climate change information was "not very important" or "not important at all" to their decision.

While climate change can greatly affect the earnings of agricultural traders to insurance firms, investors' top reason for wanting climate information was that companies have a responsibility to address climate change.

This was given by 48 per cent of those concerned, ahead of share price interests (45 per cent) and effects on company profits (43 per cent).

A fund manager for Tribeca Investment Partners, Jun Bei Liu, said environmental, social and governance concerns had become more prominent.

"This has been a huge drive and move in the past five years," she said.

Ms Liu said investment research groups were increasingly providing comparisons of funds' environmental merits to retail investors and their advisers.

"These groups will research fund managers and say `this one is focused on driving change'," she said.

For example, a fund might be investing in companies with fewer overall carbon emissions.

Financial advisers and their clients may choose a fund using this and other information.

Chartered Accountants reporting and assurance leader Amir Ghandar said banks and superannuation providers had long been calling for companies to disclose their climate risk.

Retail investors were joining them, he said.

Survey respondents had at least $10,000 invested in shares, managed funds or term deposits.

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