Australian Ethical dumps Lendlease over koala threat
Australian Ethical speaks out for koalas, fine wines climb 28% in two years, and just days remaining for Victorians to score a $250 Power Saving Bonus. Here are five things you may have missed this week.
Ethical fund manager calls out major developer
Australian Ethical has put its (investors') money where its mouth is by divesting an $11 million shareholding in property developer Lendlease.
The fund manager also plans to bail out of the Lendlease-managed Australian Prime Property Fund - Retail "at the first available opportunity".
Australian Ethical, which manages $8.68 billion for over 115,000 Australians, sold its Lendlease shares over the planned development at Mt Gilead in south-western Sydney that it says could threaten the survival of one of the last remaining healthy koala colonies in NSW.
The fund manager says it warned Lendlease in December that it would divest its shareholdings if Stage 2 of the housing development went ahead without transparency around proposed koala corridors deemed critical to the survival of the colony.
"For over four years we have used our shareholdings in Lendlease to encourage it to strengthen koala protections, but Australian Ethical cannot continue to support a company that appears to be failing to take biodiversity protection seriously," Australian Ethical spokesperson Amanda Richman says.
Fine wines rise 28% in two years
Wine lovers have a good excuse (if ever one was needed) to stock up their cellar.
The London-based Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index, which tracks daily price movements for quality wine prices, has jumped 28.72% over the last two years, outperforming many sharemarkets.
It's a sign that volatile stock markets are driving the popularity of alternative assets.
Don't expect to find familiar names like Yellowglen in the Liv-ex indices. We're talking seriously pricey booze.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50, which recorded two-year gains of 14.7%, includes vintages of Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild and the 2005-2014 vintages of Latour - varieties you may struggle to find on the shelves of the local bottlo.
The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index was helped along in February by the US Superbowl, which saw demand spike for Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon - a Californian wine that can retail for around $US15,000 ($22,600) per bottle.
Hurry in for $250 Power Saving Bonus
Victorians have until midnight on March 23 to apply for the latest round of the Power Saving Bonus program, which could mean scoring a $250 payment to help with power bills.
To be eligible, you need to have a residential electricity account - only one payment is available per household.
As part of the Power Saving Bonus application process, you'll receive details of the best priced electricity offers available in your area.
Jump onto compare.energy.vic.gov.au for details. You'll need a recent electricity bill to apply for the Bonus.
ING launches charity round-up tool
In an Australian banking first, ING has rolled out Everyday Round Up to Charity.
It lets ING customers round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar or five dollars and donate the difference to a charity.
The launch is supported by ING research that estimates 7.6 million Aussies want to be able to give a little to charity despite the heightened costs of living, with an estimated 83% willing to give almost $5 of loose change to charity per week.
Amy Cunningham, Head of Digital at ING, says, "This research shows that Aussie's hearts are in the right place, with many still wanting to give a little to causes they care about, even when times are tight.
"With ING's Everyday Round Up to Charity even a small donation can have a big impact, with $1 delivering books to remote communities, $3 feeding a brushtail possum in care and $7.50 providing a meal for a woman in a shelter".
Pearler gives kids a 'Headstart' with their investments
Investment platform Pearler has launched a simple, low fee investment app - Pearler Headstart, for parents to invest for their kids.
Nick Nicolaides, co-founder of Pearler, says the app is more than just an allowance or pocket money tool.
He explains, "We hear from our customers that they are seeking better options to invest on behalf of children, and chat with them about it as they get older.
"Finance apps today don't address this issue. They either gamify pocket money or, where investing is concerned, tag kids as an additional account under the adult - with no meaningful thought put into how children learn and engage with technology."
It costs nothing to open a Headstart account and there are no fees on balances under $100. Balances above $100 attract a monthly fee of up to $2.30. The underlying investments are exchange traded funds listed on the ASX, which charge their own fees.
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