13. Professional and ethical standards should be clearly defined and made known to the members of the SWF’s governing body(ies), management, and staff.
The Board of the Guardians has adopted a Board Charter (which includes a Board Code of Conduct), and the Guardians’ Human Resources Policy includes an Employee Code of Conduct. The Codes of Conduct set out the Guardians’ expectations for appropriate ethical and professional behaviour by Board members and staff on various matters including conflicts of interest, political participation, gifts and hospitality, and confidential information.
The Employee Code of Conduct includes a Securities Trading Procedure. To reinforce awareness and understanding of our Securities Trading Procedure, these guidelines are covered in our induction programme for new employees, contractors and Board members. There is also periodic refresher training for all staff.
To instil a culture of ethical behaviour and transparency, each person receives a copy of the Code and refresher training on core Code of Conduct topics is provided to employees and contractors and there is a six-monthly attestation process covering conflicts of interest, gifts and hospitality, health and safety, authorities and responsibilities and personal securities trading.
The Guardians’ policy framework also includes policies on Procurement and Outsourcing, Communications and Travel & Sensitive Expenditure.
All staff members have job descriptions which set out a requirement for the individual to take responsibility for compliance with all Guardians’ policies and procedures.
A register of potential and actual conflicts of interests for Board members and staff is maintained. Details of these conflicts are disclosed publicly as part of the Guardians’ annual Parliamentary Select Committee Review, available on our website. Registers of gifts and hospitality are also maintained and published on our website. Analyses of gifts and hospitality received over time are prepared for the Leadership team and staff are regularly reminded of their disclosure obligations.
Board members are required by legislation to have substantial expertise in investment management and candidates are nominated by an independent Nominating Committee (see our response to GAPP 6). The skills, experience and professional qualifications for Board members are professional qualifications of Board members are detailed in their biographies on our website in the Governance section.
There is a well-developed induction and ongoing education and development programme for Board members to ensure that they are able to continue to effectively perform their role. Performance of the Board and Board members is regularly evaluated.
The Guardians’ frameworks for staff recruitment and selection framework and for performance review and individual development are set out in our Human Resources Policy (which is published on our website). The recruitment process includes psychometric testing for all staff.
There is a structured induction process for new staff, and staff regularly receive refresher training on topics such as fraud awareness, cyber-security, ethics and health and safety requirements.
To ensure that staff members maintain their professional competence, there is a structured programme under which each staff member has an individual development plan which focuses on their ability to perform their duties in their current role and on maintaining and developing skills needed to ensure the Guardians is operating in line with global best practice. The Guardians also supports continuing professional development for specific functions (as required, for example, by the CFA Institute, NZ Law Society and Chartered Accountants ANZ).
Individual development plans and associated training decisions are aligned with the Guardians’ strategic plan. This process is supported through development discussions at all levels of management with key information being shared with the Employee Policy and Remuneration Committee of the Board.
The percentage of operating expenditure that is spent on training is disclosed in the Annual Report.
Biographies including professional qualifications of the Guardians’ Leadership Team, Investment Committee and Risk Committee are detailed on our website in the Management section. Data on staff members’ academic qualifications is disclosed annually in the Guardians’ Annual Reports.
Professional memberships of the Guardians and staff, which frequently involve member codes of conduct or similar membership requirements, are disclosed as part of the Guardians’ annual Select Committee Review, available on our website.
Adequate legal protection is provided for Board members and staff acting in the good-faith conduct of their official duties though indemnification and insurance as well as statutory immunity from civil liability.
Copies of all Guardians’ policies are published on our website here.