What is ESG investing? A guide to sustainable investments

The ESG in ESG investing stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. ESG investing is a form of socially responsible investing that prioritises financial returns along with a company’s impact on the environment, its employees and stakeholders. It is becoming a more commonly adopted practice as investors take into consideration more than just profit in their investing strategies.

Likewise, companies are becoming increasingly aware of their ESG footprint. But it can prove difficult to gather all the relevant information to ensure you are making a well-informed decision on whether a company meets or doesn’t meet ESG criteria. A great solution is to engage the services of a local Geelong Financial Planner, like The Hrkac Group who can do the groundwork for you.

There are many reasons for adopting a more sustainable investment approach. Some investors see it as a way to increase returns; many consider companies with a higher focus on ESG to be more forward-thinking and future proof.

During recent market turbulence related to the pandemic, many companies with strong ESG focuses showed lower volatility than non-ESG focussed companies. For others, it’s important that their investments align with their values. For example, an investor may choose to avoid investing in companies without carbon offset policies as climate change is an environmental issue of high importance to them.

While uniform methods to evaluate different ESG metrics are in the early stages of development, Investors can utilise various analytical approaches and data sources when determining what to invest in. Companies committed to ESG initiatives should be publishing measurable goals and their progress against those goals, in regular sustainability reports. A local Geelong Financial Planner, like The Hrkac Group can assist you in finding the pertinent data.

Read on for a breakdown of the different ESG metrics you can consider when determining where to invest.

 

1. Environmental: Conservation of the earth and its natural resources

The environmental component of ESG investing considers how a company’s practices affect the planet. Some examples include:

  • Climate change policies
  • Greenhouse gas emission targets
  • Carbon footprint targets
  • Pollution
  • Water usage and conservation
  • Overfishing and poaching
  • Deforestation
  • Energy efficiency and renewables
  • Waste management and recycling
  • Green transport solutions
  • Green technologies, innovations and products

 

2. Social; Consideration of people & communities

The social element of ESG investing covers how a company treats its employees, customers, consumers, suppliers, and the local community. Some examples include:

  • Employee satisfaction and compensation
  • Employee engagement and turnover
  • Employee training and development
  • Employee safety policies
  • Ethical supply chain sourcing
  • Human rights
  • Labour standards
  • Gender, diversity and inclusivity in hiring, promotions, and pay increases
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Public stance on social justice issues
  • Community relations
  • Customer satisfaction

 

3. Governance; Standards for running a company

The governance component of ESG investing relates to business ethics. Some examples of this include:

  • Executive compensation
  • Policies that define and enforce ethical business practices
  • Board composition; gender, diversity, representation
  • Audit committee structure
  • Conflicts of interest for board members
  • Shareholders’ ability to nominate board candidates
  • Transparency, bribery, corruption, lawsuits
  • Lobbying for particular issues
  • Political contributions
  • Whistle-blower schemes

 

There are multiple ways you can apply ESG principles to your investment strategy. You can employ an exclusionary approach, in which the investor eliminates companies according to the above criteria before deciding on where to invest. Another approach is to incorporate ESG as an additional factor within a broader decision-making process. ESG investing offers the chance to vote with your dollar; where you invest your money can be a powerful way to support communities, fair wages, and a healthy planet.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the world of ESG investing, speak to the expert Geelong Financial Planning team at The Hrkac Group. We consider your individual needs, goals, and objectives and work strategically with you to develop a tailored strategy aimed at achieving your desired financial outcomes. Make an appointment today via contact us, or phone (03) 5221 2355.

There’s a lot of talk about growing wealth and protecting assets when it comes to financial advice, but do you really know what that means?

When you engage a Financial Advisor, you expect them to give you advice on how to make your money work for you. Whilst this is true, it’s a broad description and doesn’t cover the nitty gritty of what they can do for you and your future.

Like anything, you are paying a Financial Advisor for their experience and knowledge, and ability to assist you in meeting your goals and ultimately leave you in a better position.

We all have goals to achieve; whether it’s buying your first house, retiring in style, paying debts or investing for long-term gain, Financial Advisors are here to help you manage your money, assets and expectations so you can plan for the future lifestyle you pictured.

 

So, what do financial advisors actually do?

For Superannuation

As we’ve written about previously, the second best time to start planning your retirement is now, so with that in mind when it comes to Superannuation a Financial Advisor does many things to help you, well before retirement:

  • Choosing a super fund
  • Investing your super
  • Organising insurance through your super
  • Contributing to your super
  • Implementing tax effective strategies

Throughout your working life, you will accrue super to help you later in life when you no longer can (or want) to work. This money will be invested and continue to grow as you work, setting you up for the future.

Choosing the right super fund for you can be daunting, do I go for a Retail fund or an Industry fund or a SMSF? Can I choose where the money is being invested? Do I need to make personal contributions? All these questions can be answered by a Financial Advisor once they have gotten to know you and assessed your future goals.

Financial Advisors add value to your Superannuation by using their experience to educate you on the ins and outs of Superannuation, making sure that your individual set up is in alignment with what you want to achieve.

Financial Advisors will help you get involved early so that you can achieve your retirement lifestyle goals.

For Retirement Planning

As you approach retirement and the vision of your future comes more into focus, it might not look as you had pictured. If this is the case a Financial Advisor can help you to:

  • Determined your retirement income needs
  • Maximise super contributions
  • Ensure you’re invested appropriately
  • Regain control
  • Or transition into retirement early

For those whose retirement is fast approaching, Financial Advisors can help you to figure out how much income you’ll need to generate from your Superannuation throughout retirement, to fulfil your lifestyle. If things aren’t aligning, they can take you through any adjustments that need to be made in order to bring you closer to your goals.

Not only do Financial Advisors look at whether you’ll have enough to sustain your lifestyle, they also provide you with the reassurance you need to reduce the stress of retiring and give you back control of your future.

For Post-Retirement Income Strategies

After retirement, your money doesn’t stop working for you. Although you are accessing your Superannuation, the funds continue to be invested and grow with you so, it’s important that they are monitored and adjusted on an ongoing basis – this is where Financial Advisors can help.

It’s not just Superannuation that can assist you in funding your retirement either. There are many income generating investments that can be utilised to build your bespoke retirement income plan, such as managed funds and annuities. A Financial Advisor can ensure that your entire financial position is incorporated to provide you with the best possible outcome to support you throughout retirement.

For Insurances

Often a daunting topic, Financial Advisors are well versed in which insurances are available to you through you Superannuation, or directly, and how to best to structure them. If you don’t know what insurances you might have, or even what you might need, Advisors will assess your situation and help you understand the levels of cover that you need in order to protect yourself and your family if the unexpected should happen. The types of insurance cover that should be considered are:

  • Life
  • Total and Permanent Disability
  • Trauma
  • Income Protection

Unfortunately, not all cover is made equal and with so many provider options, it is easy to settle for an insurance policy that may not give you what you and your family need. A Financial Advisor will undertake a full assessment of your personal situation, and recommend the right comprehensive cover for you.

For Personal Investments

So, you’ve got savings in the bank and you know that property is an option, but you’re wondering what else is out there to invest your money in for a good future return?

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to investment options:

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • How long do you want to invest for?
  • How much risk do you want to take?
  • Are you looking for tax effective investments?
  • Do you have specific ethical preferences?
  • Are you more cost conscious?

There are many investment options available, and each serve a different purpose. Whether it’s shares or ETF’s, managed funds or bonds, a Financial Advisor will have the skills and knowledge to recommend an investment strategy to achieve your goals.

So, do you need a Financial Advisor?

Planning for your future involves a lot more than writing down your financial goals and wishing they will come true. Creating a financial plan is all about making your money work effectively, by choosing the right strategies for your individual circumstances.

Daunting as it is, Financial Advisors are here to give you the tools you need meet your goals and take control of your financial future. Here at the Hrkac Group, we are a team of experienced, capable and respected advisors who are passionate about educating you on the strategies and options available to get the best possible outcome for you.

Why use Hrkac Group’s Financial Advisors?

Our Financial Planning team are here to bring you value through their experience and wealth of knowledge. They are here to educate you on how to make your money work for you and achieve the goals you’ve set together.

The team of experienced advisors will use the initial meeting to get to know you, do a deep dive to assess your situation and help you to realise your financial goals.

Once your goals are in place, they will create a bespoke financial plan that will leave you with the best possible outcome. But the process does not end here, you can feel assured that our team of advisors will monitor your financial plan closely and ensure that it continues to meet your goals at each annual review, so that you’re free to live your life with a little less stress.

Find out more information about our Financial Advice services here.

Contact us today to start your Financial Planning journey: email or phone 03 5221 2355.

H G Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN 25 123 478 907 is a Corporate Authorised Representative no.401592 of Alliance Wealth Pty Ltd
Alliance Wealth Pty Ltd ABN 93 161 647 007
AFSL 449221
FSG – www.centrepointalliance.com.au/fsg/aw

How Our Financial Planners Geelong Can Help You Have a Better Life

Why do we need a financial planner? Put simply, to have a better life. We either navigate our way through our own finances to work out the best way to achieve this or, we employ professional financial planners who are qualified, trained and well versed in the best ways to plan for your future. And your financial planners Geelong are the HRKAC team.

A recent Forbes article aptly stated that the real point of good financial planning “isn’t to have more money, but a better life”. This sentiment rings true as we work towards a work/life balance that is possibly the best reward at the end of the day.

Your financial plan must be a plan that fits in with where you are in your life. It must be structured around where you are placed now financially as well as working towards you obtaining the goals you seek. Our Geelong financial planners will work with you to discuss more than just the numbers. We want to know who you are, what you want and why. This is how we work with you to achieve the number on aim of us all – a better life.

Geelong’s Financial Planning Specialists

The problem with most accountants is… they’re just accountants. And by that we don’t mean JUST accountants – we mean they only provide accounting services – nothing else.

Everyone, no matter whether you’re in business or an individual, should not see accounting as their only form of financial management.

Most of us have an accountant because most of us pay taxes and need to submit our tax returns to the ATO. But unfortunately, not everyone has a good Geelong accountant AND a financial planner, whose role is to help you achieve your future financial goals, not just go over what’s happened in the past year.

That’s the major strength of our organisation. The HRKAC Group can assist you with accounting services such as financial recording, taxation returns, and tax planning – and we can also assist you in thinking about your financial future with the help of our qualified, professional financial planners.

There are many investment strategies available for our clients regardless of their level of income because financial planning isn’t just for those with a lot of money sitting in the bank, it’s also about giving people on modest incomes strategies to get financially ahead for a brighter future.

So instead of just looking at your financial past, why not look at your financial future with the Geelong financial planners at the HRKAC Group.