Active ownership

Active ownership is the practice of using our shareholder rights to advocate for the positive environmental, social and governance behaviour we believe in. By actively engaging with companies on environmental, social and governance practices, we minimise risks for members, maximise returns, and build a better future for everyone.

Our commitment to ethical practice also extends to our own transparency in governance and reporting. One of the ways we do this is to make the most of our shareholder rights and vote in company ballots when the opportunity arises.

Voting for the future

We take our share ownership seriously and we work actively with the companies in which we invest to improve the environmental, social and governance (ESG) choices they make. As a shareholder, we are entitled to undertake proxy voting at annual general meetings for most of our Australian and international equities and global real estate investment trustee exposures. We believe it is important to fulfil the ownership obligations and rights that come with being a long-term shareholder. We vote in accordance with our Proxy Voting policy.

Transparency and reporting​

Another way we encourage positive environmental, social and governance behaviour is by being transparent in our investment reporting. This includes annual reporting through our Corporate responsibility report and participation in sustainability benchmarking surveys, including the Asset Owners’ Disclosure Project, RIAA Super Fund and Responsible Investment Benchmark Reports, and Infinity by SuperRatings.

How we voted

Below, you’ll find details about how we voted over the last financial year.

AUSTRALIAN EQUITIESINTERNATIONAL EQUITIES
SummaryStatisticsSummaryStatistics
Australian voting summary year ending 30 June 2019-20
Australian voting statistics year ending 30 June 2019-20International voting summary year ending 30 June 2019-20International voting statistics year ending 30 June 2019-20

Latest proxy voting recommendations

Resolution types - Australian shares
How we voted on all resolutions - Australian equities
Resolution types - International equities
How we voted on all resolutions - Australian equities

Our key reasons for voting

There are a number of factors we consider when making our voting considerations. These are:

  1. Election of directors – accountability of company directors is a fundamental issue when investors assess director election and re-election proposals.
  2. Financial reporting of companies. 
  3. Remuneration reports/policy remunerations and disclosures. 
  4. Governance structure.
  5. Environmental and social risk. 
  6. Mergers and acquisitions 
  7. Shareholder proposals, including:
  • Remuneration
  • Shareholder rights
  • Environmental
  • Labour/human rights
  • Health/safety
  • Business ethics

Transparency and reporting

Another way we encourage positive environmental, social and governance behaviour is by being transparent in our investment reporting.

This includes annual reporting through our Corporate responsibility report and participation in sustainability benchmarking surveys, including the Asset Owners’ Disclosure Project, RIAA Super Fund and Responsible Investment Benchmark Reports, and Infinity by SuperRatings.

Recognition of our reporting transparency

An industry leader according to the RIAA

We have been recognised as an industry leader when it comes to setting clear and comprehensive responsible investment targets and reporting, according to the 2019 report from the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA). In 2019, we were one of the top 14 out of the 57 funds they researched. They found we consistently articulate and demonstrate a comprehensive responsible investment approach across our investment framework. 

Our PRI Reporting Framework assessment results

A or A+ across all reporting categories!

For 2020 and 2019 Vision Super performed well above average across all asset classes compared to the median score universe for its PRI Reporting Framework assessment. For the strategy and governance module, which covers high-level implementation and application of responsible investment, Vision Super received an “A+” rating/score.

Following the indirect module, which covers the selection, appointment and monitoring of external managers, Vision Super received seven “A+” scores on almost its entire asset class configurations, and an “A” rating/score for listed equity/active ownership and private equity externally managed asset classes. Again, these scores outperformed the average scores of all PRI signatories.

Vision Super has been recognised as one of only six Australian super funds to join the 2019 PRI Leaders’ Group. Vision Super is very proud that our responsible investment management approach has been recognised, and that we are one of the funds being showcased by the PRI in order to raise standards of responsible investment among all of their signatories.

What is the PRI?

The PRI is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. It works to understand the investment implications of ESG factors and to support its international network of investor signatories. Launched in 2006 as an independent body supported by the United Nations, PRI stands for the “Principles of Responsible investment”. This body encourages investors to incorporate ESG factors into their investment decisions in a clear and public manner, to better manage risk and generate sustainable, long-term returns. This transparency is helpful for asset owners that are seeking to understand the progress that asset managers are making on integrating ESG across a company or within an asset class.

The PRI Reporting Framework Assessment report enables signatories to the PRI to document their responsible investment activities, to help inspire proactive discussion between investors and their clients, beneficiaries and other stakeholders. Signatories are required to report on their responsible investment activities annually. This ensures:

 

  1. Accountability
  2. A standard transparency tool.
  3. Allows signatories to receive feedback to learn and develop.

How much is invested?

PRI signatories have invested over 103.4 trillion US dollars in responsible investments in the 2019-20 financial year.

USD $103.4 trillion

Frequently asked questions

Cash investment options are generally a combination of money in the bank and money invested for a short time in money market securities, such as bank term deposits and bank bills.

If you are risk averse or working to a short timeframe, then a Cash option that typically provides stable, low risk returns may be suitable for you. This type of investment option will protect the value of your superannuation, but the returns will often be low compared with other investment options.

The risk associated with cash investments is generally minimal, although the returns are also minimal. Cash can be a safe haven in times of economic uncertainty, and occasionally you may wish to preserve capital by allocating some of your super to cash.

We recommend that you obtain financial advice before making any decisions about investing in our Cash option.

To book an appointment with a Vision Super financial planner, either call us or complete our online appointment form:

Go to the form to book an appointment online >

Call our Contact Centre on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm).

Advice fees may apply, which will be discussed with you before any work is undertaken.

We don’t charge switching fees, so there is no impact on your super account balance from switching between investment options. However, if you have the right investment risk profile and your investments are matched up to your risk profile, you shouldn’t be needing to make switches regularly.

From time to time you should review your risk profile, maybe when you are first starting out in the workforce, are in the middle of your working life, a few years away from retirement and/or going into retirement. Otherwise the investments you have in superannuation should be a ‘set and forget’ strategy where you ride the ups and downs of the investments over a longer period.

You can switch investment options for some, or all, of your account balance, future contributions, or both. You can also nominate which investment option you would like your withdrawals to be made from.

You can switch between investment options by logging into our website, or the Vision Super app, or by sending us a completed Investment choice form. You can also call us, on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm).

Investment switches are processed based on the unit prices of the relevant investment options declared on the next business day after we receive your switching request, unless there is a delay with processing due to abnormal market conditions or system failure.

Frequent switching between investment options and trying to second-guess the market can be risky, particularly for high-risk investment options designed to be held in the long-term (6-12 years). You should switch only after a thorough review of your long-term investment strategy.

We recommend that you obtain financial advice before making any decisions about switching between investment options.

To book an appointment with a Vision Super financial planner, either call us or complete our online appointment form:

Go to the form to book an appointment online >

Call our Contact Centre on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm).

Advice fees may apply, which will be discussed with you before any work is undertaken.

Growth assets are higher risk but offer a higher potential return compared to defensive assets. They aim to grow the capital that’s invested and provide some income. Defensive assets are lower-risk investments which aim to protect the capital invested while providing an income.

The classification of assets into either growth or defensive has the advantage of simplicity, but it also has limitations when used as an indicator of risk. The classification does not capture diversification, which can have a larger impact on reducing the overall portfolio risk when assets are combined.

Another issue is that different people may have different classifications for the same asset type because there are no regulations governing this area and no clear guidance by the regulators on a standardised growth/defensive split. Classifications of growth or defensive assets may also change over time depending on market conditions and pricing.

We believe that there needs to be greater consistency and transparency in how super funds arrive at their growth/defensive mixes. But in the absence of regulations, there are going to be differences in practice and opinion. To avoid any potential misunderstandings, Vision Super does not publish the growth/defensive split of our investment options.

Compound interest is the interest that is earned on money that was previously earned as interest.

For example, if you have an investment of $100 that pays interest of 5% every year, then in the first year you will be paid interest of $5 over the year (5% of $100).

What happens in the next year? That’s where compounding comes in. You will not only earn interest on your initial $100 deposit, you will also earn interest on the $5 interest that you earned in the first year.

That means you will earn $5.25 in the second next year because your account balance is now $105, even though you didn’t make any deposits. This may not seem like much of an increase, but the effects of compounding becomes  more dramatic over long periods of time. After 30 years, your initial $100 investment would be worth $432.19, and that year you would be paid $21.61 in interest.

Each year your interest earnings will accelerate even more due to compound interest. This cycle leads to interest and account balances going up at an increasing rate, which is sometimes known as exponential growth.

Of course, if you’re borrowing money, compounding works against you. You owe interest on the money you have borrowed, and so your loan balance can then increase over time, even if you don’t borrow any more money.

We take our responsibility as a long-term investor very seriously. We believe that long-term prosperity of the economy and the well-being of our members depends on a healthy environment. It follows then that good governance within our own day-to-day operations, as well as within the companies we invest in, has an effect on the health of our environment, and therefore the health of us all.

We also believe that environmental, social and governance issues and sustainability considerations are important within the context of optimising (net risk-adjusted) returns for our members.

Vision Super considers ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria) risks to be material risks that have the potential to affect the interests of our members. Climate change is one of the primary risks we take into account in our investment decision-making. We’re dedicated to the management of the risks, and taking advantage of the opportunities associated with climate change. The carbon intensity of our portfolio is considerably lower than that of the market as a result.

We require our investment managers to take the principles of long-term ESG investing into account and to integrate sustainability research into the portfolios that they manage. In the course of conducting their research on companies to invest in, our investment managers look at how climate risks may affect a business’s long-term value. Their investment criteria tend to lead them to high growth companies that typically operate in less carbon-intensive industries. Our active fund managers are also required to factor in a transition in line with the Paris goals of keeping climate change to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, and we regularly engage with them on how climate risks are factored into the assessment of particular portfolio positions.

Our passive indexed Australian and International equities portfolios are managed against a low carbon benchmark. The term “passive indexed” means that these portfolios have been constructed to closely mimic the performance of a market index. When we say they are “managed against a low carbon benchmark”, it means that the amount that is invested in each company will vary depending on their relative carbon emissions. As a result these portfolios invest less in companies with high carbon emissions and more in companies with low carbon emissions, and this results in these portfolios having less carbon emissions than a similarly sized pure index portfolio would emit.

Vision Super will not invest at all in some products that we consider particularly damaging and high-risk. Currently, we don’t invest in companies that derive material revenue from the manufacture or production of tobacco, controversial weapons such as land mines, cluster bombs and nuclear weapons, and the mining of thermal coal and tar sands.

We are very active in exercising our shareholder votes. We believe that engagement, rather than divestment, is the most effective strategy to improve the way companies operate, reduce environmental impact and increase transparency. By applying the voting power that comes with owning listed equities, we can encourage companies to do better.

Vision Super is a signatory and member of a range of organisations that promote responsible investing in the superannuation industry, including the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). We are also a signatory to the Global Investor Letter to governments on Climate Action, the Paris Pledge for Action (Paris Climate Change Agreement), the Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) and a support investor of the Climate Action 100+ initiative.

For more information about our sustainable investment activities visit:

Our page detailing our approach to Sustainability >

Our page detailing how we engage in Active Ownership >

In our PDS we disclose “Investment fees and costs” and “Transaction costs” that include investment expenses relating to the investment management of Vision Super’s assets.

Investment fees and costs include investment expenses relating to the investment management of Vision Super’s assets, such as base and (in very few cases) performance-related fees paid to investment managers and advisers, management fees charged in investment vehicles, asset consulting fees, bank fees, custodian fees and internal Vision Super costs related to the management of the Fund’s assets.

Transaction costs include explicit transaction costs incurred by investment managers such as brokerage, settlement costs and stamp duty, as well as buy sell spreads charged by our investment managers or in underlying investment vehicles.

Investment and transaction fees and costs are not deducted directly from your account. Investment and transaction fees and costs are indirect fees that are deducted from the investment option unit prices and are therefore reflected in the returns allocated to your account through changes in the unit prices.

For more detail, read about the current investment fees for each option here >

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