Stock markets around the world have continued to show extreme volatility as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. Governments all around the world have taken dramatic measures, and now more than 1.5 billion people globally are isolating at home in the same way we are about to in New Zealand.
At CareSaver, we are positive and optimistic that our communities and our country’s leadership can cope with these tough times better than most places in the world. As a country we produce more than enough food (and of course toilet paper!) to keep us all fed. Kiwi’s are well placed to get through the next 4 weeks in good shape.
Having said that, these are really difficult times for our families and our community. They are also worrying times for investors and their long-term savings. We want to re-iterate to you that we are still managing your investments in the same way as prior to this lock-down. We are classified as an essential business and with healthy usage of video conferencing, shared file systems and telephone communication it is business as usual for us. We are working very hard to manage your retirement savings as skillfully and prudently as we possibly can.
We are unashamedly an ethical investor. Research has shown that companies who have higher standards around how they deal with the environment, how they treat staff, customers and the wider society, and how they make decisions do better than companies that don’t care. Ethical companies are more resilient in a market downturn. They make more sustainable profits in good times.
Our experience over the last month backs up our approach. From the return data we have seen across the industry, CareSaver has done better than most other KiwiSaver schemes. Yes, of course, some of our funds have lost money, but it is important to keep your mind on the long game – these are your retirement savings and as difficult as this last month has been, market experiences like this are definitely not unprecedented. We have had bear markets before and will have them again. Right now we are focused on this question: “When do we invest more cash into these good, ethical companies?”
Why have we done better than other KiwiSaver funds?
- We are an agile and active (not passive) manager.
- We are holding more cash than we normally would.
- We manage currency exposures.
- We focus on quality stocks that continue to generate revenue in their business.
- We use other investment tools to manage risk.
- We have avoided ‘difficult’ industries like fossil fuel companies, airlines, casinos and hotels.
We will continue communicating with you. A lot of the fear in times of stress comes from lacking good information. We have links to three articles here which we encourage you to read and share with your friends and family.
1 – an article written by our CEO (John Berry) and published on the Stuff website regarding remaining in Growth Funds if that is the correct risk exposure for you (we have reproduced it on our website here)
2 – a Q&A of our Head of Investment (Paul Brownsey) with online investment platform Sharesies about how we are managing through this crisis (again, you can read it on our website here)
3 – a Financial Adviser’s view on how to invest in this crisis (by Ben Carlson, a US based financial adviser) who talks about the human aspects of investing:
If you are concerned about your investments please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a time to talk if you need that. Remember, all of our staff invest alongside you in the same funds.
Take care, and look after yourself, family and friends as we go into the lockdown period. Keep communicating with your friends and family that aren’t in your residence. Most of all, be kind.
Use the extra time we all have to do something positive. Learn a new language, do an online course from a website like khanacademy.org or coursera.org. Try learning some Te Reo at maorilanguage.net/maori-made-easy. Learn some new card games.
John Berry (CEO)
Paul Brownsey (Head of Investments)
You can download the article here