New ‘GIRL Fund’ to encourage gender diversity

Article By Alice Heggie

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Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) has launched the first gender diversity fund that will invest more in UK companies that have achieved higher levels of gender diversity.

The L&G Future World Gender in Leadership UK Index Fund (or ‘GIRL’ fund) was announced by LGIM yesterday. The fund will favour shares in firms that have the best record on gender diversity, as measured by LGIM. Companies will be scored and ranked according to four different measures: women on the board of directors, women executives, women in management, and women in the workforce. LGIM are also considering adding a fifth measure now that companies have begun to report their gender pay gap data.

So far only one company one of the UK’s biggest 350 firms achieved full marks for diversity. Investment specialists Renewables Infrastructure Group achieved a top score for all four of the measures. Merlin Entertainments, Next and Marks & Spencer also ranked highly but missed out on the top scores.

LGIM said the aim of the fund is to “raise gender diversity standards in companies across the UK equity market, by allocating more to companies that have achieved higher levels of gender diversity”.

Helena Morrissey, Head of Personal Investing at LGIM said, “Gender inequality is one of the key issues of our time – and one that generates so much frustration. Rather than feeling trapped or despondent, let’s do something about it. 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 and also to financial advisers.

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