Survey: Estonians consider ethics to be important when they select a pension fund
The Luminor pension survey revealed that the ethics of investments matter more to Estonians when they come to choose a pension fund than material criteria do. However, more than half of the survey respondents are not sure about how well their second pillar pension investments meet their priorities.
Martin Rajasalu, a Member of the Management Board of Luminor Pensions Estonia, said the results show that when people choose their pension funds, they look not only at return and risk but also at the broader impact that their pension investments will have on society.
The younger the clients are, the more they prioritise their ethical values. They don’t want their money to be invested in countries where human rights are violated, corruption is prevalent, and there is no concern for the environment. A person who thinks about the future wants a good and secure environment to live in, in addition to having their money,
Respondents to the survey were asked to prioritise nine different criteria, and they considered it most important that pension funds avoid investing in countries with authoritarian governments that violate human rights or threaten other countries, which mattered for 57% of respondents, and avoid investments in industrial sectors that have questionable ethics and harm the environment, which was important for 53%. “These indicators are even more important to many people when they choose their pension fund than material criteria are”, noted Mr Rajasalu.
A total of 52% of respondents considered it important to diversify their pension investments and lower risks, 39% stressed the importance of placing pension funds in areas like artificial intelligence that have good potential for the future, and 31% of respondents considered low risk investment, in government bonds for example, to be important. A total of 28% of respondents considered a high rate of return to be important, even if it was accompanied by risks.
At the same time, the results also showed that many Estonians are not up to speed with the current investments of their second pillar pension fund. Some 57% of the respondents, or more than half, were unable to say whether their second pillar pension fund invests in areas with good potential for the future, while 53% could not say whether their funds avoid investing in industrial sectors that have questionable ethics or harm the environment. At 50% of the total, a full half of the respondents were unaware of whether their pension fund investments go to authoritarian countries that violate human rights.
When making pension fund investment decisions, Luminor considers it important that the funds purchased adhere to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI).
Survey responses were collected using a quantitative web survey in June and July of this year. The aim of the survey was to determine how people regard the Estonian pension system and what they expect to receive from it. A total of 1599 second pension pillar clients of Luminor Pensions Estonia participated in the survey.