Thursday, May 2, 2013

Global Womens Equity Fund a first for Canada

In a first for the Canadian investment landscape, the Global Women’s Equity Fund announced today that it is almost ready to launch. “This fund is great for society, great for women and a unique concept that didn’t exist here in Canada” said Chief Marketing Officer Alexis Klein.

The fund will invest primarily in equity securities of companies that have demonstrated their support of women’s causes and are leaders in promoting gender equality in the workplace. The companies to be included in the portfolio must meet at least one of the following criteria:

Group A

• Companies that have signed and adhere to the Women’s Empowerment Principles-Equality Means Business, produced and disseminated by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and/or;

• Companies with 25% or more women directors and/or;

• Companies with 25% or more women executive officers and/or;

• Companies that have provided financial support and are members of CATALYST, the leading
non-profit membership organization expanding opportunities for women and actively
promoting the advancement of women in the workplace since 1962 and/or;

• Companies that have signed and adhere to the Women on the Board Pledge for Europe
produced and disseminated by the European Commission with a pledge to reach the target of 30% female board members by 2015 and 40% by 2020 by actively recruiting qualified women to replace outgoing male board members and/or;

Group B

• Companies that could potentially enhance overall portfolio diversification and/or maximize overall portfolio return

The portfolio advisor will maintain a minimum of 80% of its equity securities in Group A at all times and up to a maximum of 20% of its equity holdings in Group B.

“You can drill more holes in some SRI mandates than you find in Swiss cheese” added Klein, “The GWEF mandate is strict and measurable.”

The fund will be managed by Jarislowsky Fraser, a solid and well respected firm that has recently undergone a changing of the guard, although 87 year old Steven Jarislowsky remains as Chairman. With women in four of its top executive positions, JF is a natural fit for the GWEF.

While the fund has a global mandate in order to maximize potential candidates, there are a number of Canadian companies which would make the cut including Bank of Montreal, Loblaw and Sun Life Financial.

The GWEF will donate .5% of the MER to promoting opportunities for women in Canada. This may be through donations to existing women’s organizations, or through innovative financing options.

Klein anticipates making a further announcement soon on when the GWEF will be open for business. We can’t wait!

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