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Wednesday 28 September 2022 8:54am

sebastianmainDr Sebastian Gehricke

Dr Sebastian Gehricke shares his experience of being on the Development Committee that created New Zealand's first-ever “Stewardship Code” and why this code will be hugely significant for investors.

Based in the Department of Accountancy and Finance, Dr Gehricke has been working alongside other committee members to bring this document into reality so that investors can possess a clear framework which can steer their investee companies on critical issues, including climate change and sustainability.

Not only does this bring transparency and accountability to the practice of stewardship, but it gives a guide to creating and supporting intergenerational value for the people whose money is being invested.

“Effective stewardship is a key element for all investors to meet client and broader stakeholder needs to create long-term value, while minimising negative and maximising positive impacts on society and the environment,” Dr Gehricke says.

“Key elements to effective stewardship are outlined in the principles of this Stewardship Code for Aotearoa New Zealand, along with guidance on how to plan, execute, and report on meaningful stewardship.

“It is exciting to see all the work that has gone into developing this Code come to fruition because the document will no doubt serve as a unique and meaningful framework for investors to elevate their stewardship activities beyond the short-term gain towards those that contribute to sustainable outcomes for the people, planet and economy.”

The Code was launched to more than 350 investors today at the Responsible Investment Aotearoa New Zealand 2022 conference.

Chair of the Stewardship Code Development Committee and Director at West Nine Consulting, Erica Miles believes that the launch of this code brings “New Zealand in line with leading global markets who already have such codes” with “more than 40 stewardship codes or initiatives” having been issued including in the UK.

The Code is voluntary, but signatories will be required to comply or explain their non-compliance. It is being launched with several founding signatories, who have committed to producing their first Stewardship Report by December 2024. These signatories are Harbour Asset Management, Milford Asset Management, Kiwi Wealth, Devon Funds, Trust Management, Westpac and NZ Super Fund.

Stewardship Code Development Committee:
• Erica Miles (West Nine Consulting) (Committee Chair)
• Anne-Maree O'Connor (Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation (GNZS))
• Bruce W Lee (Who's Good, CFA Institute)
• David Kandziora (Russell Investments, CFA Board)
• Emma Dale (Chapman Tripp)
• Jorge Waayman (Harbour Asset Management)
• Katie Beith (Head of ESG, Forsyth Barr)
• Matt Mimms (The Investment Store, RIAA Board Member)
• Nicola Swan (Chapman Tripp)
• Penny Sheerin (Chapman Tripp)
• Philip Houghton-Brown (Westpac, CFA Board)
• Robert Sloan (Trustee Executors, FSC Sustainability Committee)
• Sebastian Gehricke (University of Otago Business School, INFINZ)
• Simon O'Connor (Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA))
• Sue Walker (Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), INFINZ)
• Susan Quinn (RIAA)

- Kōrero by the Otago Business School Communications Adviser, Kelsey Schutte.

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