Whether you are using the services of an asset manager to build an investment portfolio or are diligently contributing to a retirement annuity fund, your investments carry social and environmental costs that are shaping the country’s future.
The act of owning shares in a JSE-listed company, whether directly or via retirement savings, puts you in a position of responsibility. This responsibility must go beyond a focus on financial returns. Considering the social and environmental impacts of your investments will help to ensure that the society you retire into will be stable and sustainable. Failing to do so will not only exacerbate social disruption, inequality and environmental degradation, it will also ensure that your long-term returns are severely compromised.
If you are concerned about increasing inequality, and what that may mean for future generations, you can play an important role as a shareholder or retirement fund beneficiary in making the companies in which you are invested more responsible and accountable.
As a first step, engage with your asset manager or financial adviser on the topic of company remuneration and board diversity. Ask whether the people who run the companies in which you are invested are remunerated fairly and responsibly in the context of the overall employee remuneration at the company.