13th March 2019

Nordea’s new fund to balance gender diversity

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Nordea Asset Management (NAM) has launched a fund to invest in firms that are focussed on improving the gender balance.

The Global Gender Diversity Fund is a sustainable investment strategy, designed to capitalize on the increasing evidence that striking a gender balance within a company is positive for earnings.

Nordea, for the second year in a row, was ranked as one of the top 100 most sustainable corporations in the world by Corporate Knights. The new fund will help firms source the cream of the crop when it comes to employees and make it difficult for a competitor to imitate the skills and knowledge of outstanding employees.

Julie Bech, manager of the fund, believes a company that manages to expand its recruitment base will have an edge on the competition. She said: “Our goal is to give the stakeholders of the fund better-than-average return, versus the global share markets, while at the same time offering them the opportunity to support gender equality.”

The fund will include a maximum of 100 companies from North and South America, Europe, Asia and growth markets. The businesses will be assessed on a variety of parameters including the share of women on the boards and in the top management.

It will also look closely at whether the companies offer equal pay, parental leave and mentor programmes for women.
Gender diversity is an important global sustainability theme, with the fifth UN Sustainable Development Goal’s aim to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’.

However, there is still a large gap in gender diversity across the business world, with less than 4 percent of the largest 500 companies on the planet having a woman CEO and only 7 percent of boards being gender diverse.

In a 2017 study of more than 1,000 companies from 12 different countries, American worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Co found that the top quartile in terms of gender-diverse executive teams were 21 percent more likely to report above-average profitability, compared with companies in the fourth quartile.