Gender Lens Investments: Wealth Managers and Women in Leadership

Gender Lens has evolved from a core body of equity investment research that showcases the high level of financial, risk management, decision making and other corporate benefits (WIL) of women in leadership. In our coverage universe in parallel finance, 2 gender gender lens global and regional equity funds are available to individual investors. Their assets under management (AUM) are .. 3.47 billion as of June-June 2021, reflecting a 2% growth rate in the first half of 2021.

Our coverage universe also includes an expanded group of diversification, equity and inclusion (DEI) funds targeting companies with strong DEI policies for investment. These DEI funds are UM 154 million at AUM as of June 30.

The first two quarters of Gender-Lens Fixed Income saw strong growth, especially in the case of bond bonds issued by private financial institutions and sponsored by the Development Finance Institution (DFI). Latin America leads the total number of gender bonds, whose income goes to women-owned enterprises in various sectors.

As of June 30, Ling-Lens’s fixed income was UM 7.71 billion at AUM, which represents Bond Funds, US notes and certificates, a nding platform and gender bonds in both developed and developing countries. This translates to the first half growth rate as %%, as AUM on DFI-issued gender bonds has almost doubled during this period.

A push to raise women in corporate leadership

Elsewhere, women’s progress in corporate leadership has been stubbornly slow. Government orders, regulatory measures, and stock exchange listing rules have a role to play, especially when combined with shareholder activism. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved Nasdaq’s Groundbreaking Board Diversity Rules for newly listed companies in August-August 2021. , Or explain in writing why they did not.

Prior to the proposal, more than 75% of NASDAQ components could not meet the criteria, although most had at least one female board director. Smaller companies in particular work best to meet the proposed threshold.

In a similar move, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recommended that listed companies comply with or explain board diversification targets and disclose diversity information to their board and executive management. Also, a subcommittee of the SEC has recommended that the Mutual Fund Board adopt the requirement to disclose gender and racial diversity. And since California enacted legislation for board representation for women nearly three years ago, the number of female corporate executives has doubled, although women are under-represented.

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The role of global asset managers

Global asset managers have a number of management policies and statements to support the growth of corporate WIL. In the face of criticism over the expansion of all male boards, more asset managers have indicated a willingness to vote against non-diversified boards. BlackRock announced late last year that it would force companies to release data on diversity data and measures to improve it. Similar statements from Vanguard, Fidelity Investments and State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), among others, soon followed.

BlackRock, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have released their own 2020 EEO-1 data, others have pledged to do so or have released partial data.

An analysis of the Variety Voting Guidelines for the 12 largest global asset managers by AUM as of March 31, 2021, found that their outlook towards the specified threshold may not be high enough. These guidelines “encourage” board diversity, with several not identifying specific targets and others naming thresholds for only one or two women and other diversified board members.

Advocating on behalf of one or two female board members puts asset managers behind the curve rather than charging for board equality. The small majority of S&P 500 companies now have at least 30% female board representation. 2 %% of Fortune 500 board seats, and %% of FTSE 100 seats are women.

Fidelity International says women can vote against the board in developed markets if they hold less than 30% of the seats.

But who among these resource managers will be the first to call for gender equality on board? Or board equality which includes gender and race and ethnicity?

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Largest asset manager

Equally important, which of the larger asset managers will first achieve gender equality on its own board and C-suite? Our analysis of the top 12 asset managers Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Asset Management have the highest female board representation, followed by Blackrock, Allianz Group and UBS.

But women’s board representation is moving faster than C-suit gender diversity. Only 6% of female CEOs are available in both S&P 500 and FTSE 100 components and only 8% in Fortune 500 companies. Consistent with the broader data, there is a lack of female CEOs among top asset managers. Loyalty is the only woman who leads this organization.

There are five female CFOs among the top asset managers, and Russell’s study of 3,000 components found a relationship between profit and share price increases and the first 24 months of having a female CFO.

But six of the top 12 asset managers have no women in the four C-suite positions অর্থাৎ that is, the chair, the CEO, the CFO, and the COO of the parent company এবং and only one of the four firms. Loyalty leads with three, but two of these positions are held by the same person.

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Of these asset managers only three gender lens equity funds are available to individual investors. The UBS Global Gender Equality UCITS ETF had 15 615.91 million in the AOM as of June 30, while the SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF had 21 213.25 million and the Fidelity Women’s Leadership Fund had মিল 13 million. BlackRock’s DEI Fund, iShares Refinitiv Inclusion and Diversity UCITS ETF had 58.59 million. None of the 12 companies sponsored or issued a gender bond, although some have played a managerial role. In a unique move, Goldman Sachs recently announced that it would commit ১০ 10 billion in direct investment capital to bridge the gap in opportunities for black women.

There are two areas of opportunity for global asset managers to grow corporate WIL. The first is in their own position. Second, they should fulfill their responsibilities and pave the way for the board to move towards gender equality and higher female c-suit representation.

For more analysis from Meripat Smoker, CFA, visit Parallel meaning.

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All posts are the author’s opinion. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, or the opinions expressed must not reflect the views of the CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images / Amana Productions Inc.

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Meripat Smacker, CFA

Merifat Thanel Smaker, CFA, is a writer and research analyst who focuses on gender lenses and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments. His work can be found at

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