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Legal & General’s ‘Girl Fund’ will back firms showing good gender balance

Financial giant Legal & General is the first company in the UK to prioritise its investing powers in companies where women are well represented.

Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) stated that when a company invested in the success of women, they were also investing in the success of the business.

L&G is one of the UK’s biggest investment firms, and the first to take on the gender inequality issue by launching the first UK fund to actively deal with this. The fund will prioritise investment in companies where women are well represented at all levels.

LGIM, who manage £983bn of assets, have ploughed some £50m of its own money into the new fund. The ‘Girl Fund’ was created to empower investors to select which companies they invested in and make a difference in those companies for the good of the wider society.

This year the scale of the gender pay gap has been exposed by the government requiring that all companies with more than 240 employees publishing wage disparities. In an analysis carried out by The Guardian, figures showed that of 10,014 employers who published their figures 8 out of 10 paid men more than women. The median hourly rate for women was on average 9.7% less than for male colleagues.

The full name of the new fund is the L&G Future World Gender in Leadership UK Index Fund, which has been dubbed the ‘Girl Fund’ for short.

The fund will score and rank blue-chip companies in four gender diversity categories.

Percentage of women on the board of directors, at the executive level, in management, and across the workforce in general. The fund would expect companies to reach a minimum of 30% representation of women in all four categories. L&G is also considering the addition of another measure relating to gender pay gap.

At present, the fund tracks an LGIM-designed index of about 350 of the largest companies in the UK. As firms achieve the higher levels of diversity, they will be added to the fund. The goal is to drive up standards in this area. L&G went on to say that in firms where the score was low, they would meet and discuss ways to improve gender diversity in the companies.

Helena Morrisey stated that gender inequality is one of the key issues right now, and one that generates a lot of frustration. Rather than feeling trapped or despondent, the time has come to do something about it. The launch of the ‘Girl Fund’ empowers people to use their money helping companies who want to progress.

The ‘Girl Fund’ is even open to small investors with as little as £30 per month to invest.   


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