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Australia and New Zealand investors urged to demand higher ethical standards



Investors across Australia and New Zealand, as well as many other countries around the world, are being urged to make use of their rights and demand higher ethical standards from their financial providers.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) societies in Oceania, which represent more than 35,000 investment professionals, are participating in the Investor First Week initiative, which aims to improve awareness about the fair treatment of investors.

The initiative includes the CFA’s Statement of Investor Rights. Anthony Serhan, managing director of research strategy for Asia-Pacific at Morningstar and vice-president of the CFA Society in Sydney, explained that this is a set of standards that embraces higher ethical values, as well as greater honest and transparency.

He said, “We want investors to better understand the conduct they are entitled to expect from financial services and product providers. We will be asking all investors to use the CFA’s Statement of Investor Rights and to present this statement to their financial adviser, banker or broker in any financial dealing with them.”

The Statement of Investor Rights sets out 10 points that investors are entitled to, including their financial interests taking precedence over those of the professional or the organisation. It also covers an understating of their circumstances, so that any advice is suitable and based on the investor’s financial objectives and constraints.

Serhan noted that trust remains low on the financial services sector and that the initiative could rebuild faith between investor and financial advisers.

“Investors are still not knowledgeable about their rights and entitlements. The statement provides investors with the confidence to ask the right questions and is a helpful way for them to better understand how they should be treated”, he added.

“Together, investors holding their financial services providers accountable for professional and ethical behaviour and an investor-first mind set from providers, will help restore trust and confidence in finance.”

As in many countries, ethical and sustainable finance has been growing in Australia. In 2013 several ethical financial adviser pitched together to serve as a co-operative platform for increasing awareness about responsible investing.

Previous research published last year found that many Australians want to align their investments with their personal values. Six in 10 felt it was important that investments reflect their ethics, with 28% of respondents knowing for certain that their investments, savings and pensions were invested ethically or sustainably.

Photo: Andreas Krappweis via Flickr

Further reading:

Six out of ten Australians want to align their investments with their values

Australian financial planners club together for ethical investment

Norway pension funds step up ethical investment policy

A sustainable investment revolution must emerge from the IPCC’s stark warning

63% of UK investors want to be offered sustainable investment options

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