Legal and General investment Management (LGIM) has launched an first investment fund using £50 million (of its own money) which will be open to both institutional and retail investors and aims to “empower investors to make a difference to the companies in which they invest and wider society”.
The L&G Future World Gender UK Leadership UK Index Fund is designed to offer people the chance to invest in companies that respect gender equality and diversity. It’s timing is no accident, coming about as it has in the wake of significant focus on gender issues generally, and specifically within the professional world. The company has nicknamed their fund the ‘Girl Fund’.
Ealier this year, the government introduced a deadline by which all major UK companies had to publish data showing the gender balance of their workforce, and specifically data on any pay disparity.Analysis from the Guardian of 10,014 employers who submitted data by last month’s deadline showed that almost 8 out of 10 employers paid men more than women. This showed a median pay gap of 9.7% with 78% of businesses paying greater amounts of money to men compared to women, while 14% pay women more, and 8% have no gender pay gap.
Helena Morrissey, head of investing at LGIM said that gender inequality was ‘one of the key issues of our time’ and a ‘frustrating one’. She went on: ‘rather than feeling trapped or despondent, let’s do something about it … when we invest in the success of women, we are investing in the success of the business’.
L&G’s fund will rank and score blue-chip companies according to four gender diversity measures. Percentages of women will be looked at by: the board of directors; at executive level; in management; and across the workforce. Companies under this investment management are expected to reach a minimum of 30% representation of women in the four gender diversity measures. L&G have stated that it would encourage low-scoring companies to discuss how improvements can be made to improve gender diversity.