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Cop this - an arresting talk about money

ANZ’s Head of Responsible Investment Helen Skinner recently sat down with Constable Bryan Ward for his Coppuccino podcast. They talked about a wide range of issues related to money and investing, in the hope it’ll help demystify the subject and encourage more money conversations.


If ANZ’s Head of Responsible Investment Helen Skinner could talk to her teenage self her advice would be simple - start saving.


Also - “maybe don’t get a credit card at 19 and spend the entire balance on a trip to Fiji!”


She recently sat down with Constable Bryan Ward for his Coppuccino podcast to talk about money and investing.


“I was a late developer when it came being financially savvy,” Helen said.


“At 16 I was working at Deka at the weekends and earning $5.75 an hour and spending that money at the school tuck shop on potato top pies.


“So I’d probably say ‘save some of your money, it will make your life better’. And if I was that age now I’d say to Mum and Dad, hey can you open a KiwiSaver account for me.”


"Research shows that the bigger our KiwiSaver balance grows, the more we think about what is my money actually doing"

Helen Skinner - ANZ Head of Responsible Investment



Helen Skinner did not grow up with a goal of working in the investment world. She came to it by chance.


“I fell into it. Like many young people I had a bit of a mental resilience moment in between high school and university.


“So I went to Uni and I dropped out after six months. I got a job in life insurance and I worked my way up and that gave me my first exposure to investing.”


It was in her previous role at a Financial Advice provider that she saw many people, often women, in moments of great trauma, like the death of a loved one or a relationship breakup.


She remembers she often met people who had no idea how their finances worked because their partner had handled all of that.


“Particularly if you are getting financial advice, make sure that you are included in the decision of who that provider is. We found often the man would have that relationship with the adviser and the woman wouldn’t. So make sure that you are part of that decision.”


Likewise, with KiwiSaver, she says you can always talk to your provider to get more information or a better understanding of what you are investing in.


Constable Bryan asked Helen if she thinks there are still a lot of KiwiSaver members who don’t really understand how or where their money is invested.


“It generally goes into shares, where you are buying a portion of a company, or a bond, where you are lending money to a company or Government and they pay you interest for it, or cash.


“You are investing in organisations all over the world and lots of different companies that we have exposure to every day, like our phones and our cars.”


Constable Bryan was curious to know what a Head of Responsible Investment actually does.


“I help our investment team think broadly,” Helen explained. “We are all about investing sustainably and that means investing for the really long term and thinking about all the different impacts.”


“So I help them think about the global issues and the local issues which might impact how we are investing and also look at where the opportunities are for future investments as well.”


She explained that responsible investment is not just about deciding what they should not invest in, but also what they should invest in.


“Research shows that the bigger our KiwiSaver balance grows, the more we think about what is my money actually doing.”


“Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) are all massive factors in your role. That’s a huge portfolio,” said Constable Bryan. “How do you keep track of it all?”


“It is massive and we have a huge responsibility,” Helen said.


“I’m just one of a team of people. We also have global managers we work with, and they help us come up with themes and ideas, and I am looking at what are the big risks and the big opportunities.”


So for people wanting to understand more about investing, where can they start?


”If you are in KiwiSaver, as three million of us are, there will be heaps of information usually on your providers’ websites. And also the Sorted.org.nz is a really great source. They have some awesome videos. And so do the Financial Services Council. They have a YouTube channel called Money and You.”


The podcast covered a wide range of other topics such as compound interest, the difference between financial literacy and financial wellbeing, and what are the checks and balances that are in place to protect investors.


Helen Skinner also recently took part in a webinar panel hosted by the Financial Services Council, in which they discussed the FSC’s latest report, 'Investing In Volatile Times'.


Listen to the Coppuccino podcast here.


The information and topics discussed in this podcast are general in nature and are not intended as financial advice.  While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your personal situation.  Before making any decisions based on the information or comments provided in this podcast, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.



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