With a nod to ‘girl power’, Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) has launched the first gender diversity fund focusing on UK companies.
While the L&G Future World Gender in Leadership UK Index Fund (‘GIRL’ fund) is a tracker fund following the ups and downs of the UK stock market, it will allocate more to companies that have achieved higher levels of gender diversity.
LGIM will score and rank companies according to four gender-diversity measures: women on the board of directors, women executives, women in management, and women in the workforce.
Companies will be expected to reach a minimum of 30% representation of women in these four measures.
These scores are based on LGIM’s own research and may also include gender pay gap data in future.
The fund tracks an LGIM-designed index of around 350 of the UK’s largest companies. The fund aims to deliver returns by tracking the UK equity stock market via low-cost and transparent index exposure, managed against the Solactive L&G Gender in Leadership UK Index.
The index is ‘tilted’ according to LGIM’s gender diversity score.
Helena Morrissey, head of personal Investing at LGIM, says that gender inequality is an issue that causes “so much frustration”.
“Rather than feeling trapped or despondent, let’s do something about it,” she says.
“I’m excited about the launch of the GIRL Fund, which empowers us all to use our money to help companies to progress.
“When we invest in the success of women, we are investing in the success of business. Collectively, we can help achieve gender equality and improve gender diversity in the UK.”
The fund will be available to individual investors through LGIM’s personal investing platform. The minimum investment is £500. Ongoing charges are 0.5% a year.
LGIM is one of the largest asset managers in Europe with total asset under management of £983 billion.
For investors looking wider afield, the United States got in on the female empowerment bandwagon first with Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund. This was the first broadly diversified mutual fund to invest in the highest-rated companies in the world for advancing women through gender diversity on their boards and in executive management.