The making of the Future World GIRL Fund
Dame Helena Morrissey (Head of Personal Investing): Gender equality is one of the key issues of our age, and one that generates so much frustration. But rather than feeling trapped, or despondent about it, why don’t we do something about the issue? I’m really excited about the GIRL fund because it empowers us all to use our money to accelerate progress. The Fund invests more in those companies doing the most for the women in their own workplaces, and reduces the allocation in those companies that don’t seem to be committed to the issue. I believe that when we invest in the success of women, we’re investing in the success of business.
Helena Morrissey:Elitsa, you were almost the first person I think that I spoke to about the idea of a gender-related fund, the Girl fund. tell me your reactions and let’s talk about your role in taking us to this point.
Elitsa Karamitreva (Product Strategy and Development Manager): My initial reaction was that I was very excited about having such a fund because it’s very different than what you normally see an investment house delivering. My role in the whole project is: how do we want it to look, how does this product fit into our strategy, and ultimately to actually deliver the GIRL fund for all of us to be able to invest in.
Helena Morrissey: Fadi, you have been working on some of the methodology around the Girl fund, and there are four criteria that go together to make up the score that a company has. How did you choose those criteria?
Fadi Zaher (Head of Product Specialists: Index, Asset Allocation, Factor-Based Investing): When you design an index fund, or actually any strategy, the most important thing is to have consistency in the way you select the data, because if you have bad data, you will have a bad output; that’s just typically the case. So, when we looked at the general market, we looked at what are the consistent data that we can then bring to an index fund, and these four data points are: women on boards, women in the [work]force, women in management and women in executive roles. For these data points, we’ve managed to find good, reliable history and also maintained mainstream numbers that we can bring into index funds. I do think over time we will bring in more data points into the fund, but these are the four consistent data points that allow us to actually create an index fund.
Helena Morrissey: So obviously the four criteria are clear, but the one that everyone’s been talking about in the newspapers recently has been the Gender Pay Gap; what are the plans to include that data point in the scoring?
Fadi Zaher: It will be included in the future scoring, it’s just that we’re trying to find reliable data that we can then take and bring into the index.
Helena Morrissey: And you work on engaging with companies to try and encourage them to do more around diversity?
Jeannette Andrews (Corporate Governance Manager): When companies are not meeting our expectations with respect to diversity, so for example where they do not have diverse boards, we are already using the vote to vote against the Chairman. And that’s really important because the Chairman is responsible for deciding who is on the board, and if they are not forming a board that is diverse and full of different talents, we are going to hold them responsible for that. The GIRL fund takes this one step further by rewarding companies who are doing a really good job, so it’s an additional tool for us to hold companies to account.
Helena Morrissey: David, tell me what gender equality means to you?
David Barron (Fund Manager): I think it means opportunity for future generations, I’m thinking specifically about my 13-month old daughter, my two nieces, my sisters even, who are in the professional industry. So just hopefully a change to do just that: making it equal opportunity for, you know, for the world I guess.
Helena Morrissey: What are you hoping that we’ll achieve through this Fund, Elitsa?
Elitsa Karamitreva: I’m hoping first of all to encourage companies to be more open about diversity and inclusion, to be thinking about their workforce and making their employees feel included and, ultimately, I’m hoping to create a better impact on the broader society with this.
Helena Morrissey: Silvio, do you think it’s possible we can do that?
Silvio Corgiat Mecio (Senior Solutions Manager): Yes, I think it’s possible, changing the values, firstly in culture, and making sure that these values are well spread across society, and are well received so that it becomes the standard.
Helena Morrissey: Have there been any particular instances in your own career where you’ve seen inequality?
Aniket Das (Senior Investment Strategist, Index and Factor-Based Investing): I was born in India, and my mum during the mid-‘80s worked as a bank manager. She was the only female bank manager in the whole state in India. So obviously that makes me really proud, but at the same time it makes me think of how unequal society has been in the past and certainly still is to an extent.
Helena Morrissey: Do you think the GIRL fund could make a difference in terms of the speed of progress?
Justin Onuekwusi (Fund Manager, Asset Allocation, and Co-chair of diversity and inclusion working group for the investment floor): I think it’s a huge initiative because I think actually it looks positively on companies, which are addressing the issues.
Cosmo Elms (Senior Product Strategy and Development Manager): I think the Fund really helps to champion those companies that are making good progress towards creating diverse and inclusive environments in which women can flourish in their careers.
Helena Morrissey: Mark, you’ve long championed gender equality at Legal & General; why is it so important an issue to you?
Mark Zinkula (CEO, Legal & General Investment Management): Professionally, I’ve been exposed to this topic really from when I first entered the industry back in 1990. And even coming over here in this role seven years ago, the leadership team was entirely male, the asset management board was entirely male, and I realised pretty quickly we needed to make some changes.
Helena Morrissey: And what are your hopes for the GIRL fund?
Mark Zinkula: There’s a growing body of evidence that indicates, that helps support the notion that more diverse leadership teams and boards make better decisions and have higher long-term performance, and so we’ve identified a way to select those companies and allow people to invest in them in this Fund.
Helena Morrissey: Nigel, tell me what does gender equality mean to you?
Nigel Wilson (Group Chief Executive): First of all, you know, I’ve got five daughters, you’ve got six daughters, so we have a football team between us!
Helena Morrissey: A vested interest in the next generation!
Nigel Wilson: Enlightened self interest. And so, you know, I’ve really, really understood, growing up with daughters, how difficult it is to actually achieve equality in the workforce.
Helena Morrissey: Legal & General is putting £50 million of its own funds in the Fund, so are putting the money where the mouths are, and I guess it’s something that’s strategically important to the firm?
Nigel Wilson: On many levels, absolutely, we have to back all of these great ideas with our own money and this is just helping to kick-start what I hope will be a hugely successful fund, right across the UK, that people see that actually this is a fund that can make a difference, and make a positive difference.
“Gender Equality means to me what I think it should mean to everyone in 2018, which is that you’re not going to have a very high performing team if you don’t have a diverse one.”
“This is a really important thing, not just for young women, but for young men as well, and it feels like we are part of a generation that is pushing for change.”
“I think that just because of your gender you shouldn’t have to be limited in what you can do in life.”
“It means a more diverse working environment, it means an environment where we see more creativity, from more different opinions, and as a result of that a more innovative environment.”
“I definitely think that’s really important and I think they can be held to account in a number of ways, by their CEOs, their Executive Boards, by their employers, by external agencies as well. And I think the numbers speak for themselves.”
“I’m a great believer in making it accountable to people in the organisation, that anyone in a position of leadership has to do their bit on diversity; it’s part of their leadership role in an organisation.”
“Yeah, I think companies should definitely be encouraged to do more than just report on the statistics around gender pay.”
“I absolutely think that companies should be held to account in terms of what they’re doing for gender balance. I think the Gender Pay Gap reporting has been a step in the right direction, but ultimately it’s where we take that information and what we do with it that actually matters.”
“One hundred percent, I think it’s really important that companies are held to account in terms of gender balance, not only to make sure that discrimination doesn’t continue in the workplace, but also it’s just good business.”
“The fact that gender equality is in the news so much lately is very uplifting and encouraging.”
“I think the more awareness you can give around something, an issue or a topic, the more that people pay attention and hopefully do and act upon it, change things for the better.”
“I think that as a young girl in today’s society, knowing that there are people that are trying to make that difference for our generation, that’s something that really excites me.”
“I think the GIRL fund is a great idea because anything we can do to encourage progress is going to be beneficial.”
“I think that the GIRL fund sounds like a really good idea; I mean it would definitely encourage those companies and almost give them more of a boost if they’re already thinking about this current issue I think that’s a very progressive concept to have within a company.”
“I think ethical investments happen in all sorts of sectors. You’ve got to choose who you invest with ethically and that stands just as much for gender equality as for anything else.”
For listed companies: find out here how you can improve your score
|Company Name||Gender Diversity Score|
|888 HOLDINGS PLC||14|
|ANGLO AMERICAN PLC||33|
|ASSOCIATED BRITISH FOODS PLC||38|
|ACACIA MINING PLC||13|
|ADMIRAL GROUP PLC||47|
|ASHTEAD GROUP PLC||33|
|ASHMORE GROUP PLC ORD||19|
|AUTO TRADER GROUP PLC||52|
|AVEVA GROUP PLC||35|
|BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL GROUP PLC||23|
|BAE SYSTEMS PLC||25|
|BALFOUR BEATTY PLC||20|
|BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO PLC||36|
|BBA AVIATION PLC||25|
|TRITAX BIG BOX REIT PLC||33|
|BARRATT DEVELOPMENTS PLC||54|
|BGEO GROUP PLC||50|
|BERKELEY GROUP HOLDINGS PLC||31|
|BRITISH LAND CO PLC||59|
|BHP BILLITON PLC||49|
|B&M EUROPEAN VALUE RETAIL SA||31|
|BURBERRY GROUP PLC||69|
|BREWIN DOLPHIN HOLDINGS PLC||60|
|BT GROUP PLC||35|
|BOVIS HOMES GROUP PLC||29|
|N BROWN GROUP PLC||91|
|BIG YELLOW GROUP PLC||52|
|CAPITAL & COUNTIES PROPERTIES PLC||55|
|CARD FACTORY PLC||58|
|CLOSE BROTHERS GROUP PLC||61|
|COCA-COLA EUROPEAN PARTNERS||43|
|CINEWORLD GROUP PLC||60|
|CAIRN ENERGY PLC||34|
|CNH INDUSTRIAL NV||28|
|COATS GROUP PLC||36|
|COMPASS GROUP PLC||39|
|CRODA INTERNATIONAL PLC||27|
|CREST NICHOLSON HOLDINGS PLC||35|
|COUNTRYSIDE PROPERTIES PLC||46|
|CONVATEC GROUP PLC||34|
|DIXONS CARPHONE PLC||41|
|DAIRY CREST GROUP PLC||25|
|DFS FURNITURE PLC||54|
|DIRECT LINE INSURANCE GROUP PLC||34|
|DIALOG SEMICONDUCTOR PLC||17|
|DERWENT LONDON PLC||47|
|DAILY MAIL AND GENERAL TRUST P L C||26|
|DUNELM GROUP PLC||49|
|DOMINOS PIZZA GROUP PLC||50|
|DECHRA PHARMACEUTICALS PLC||44|
|DRAX GROUP PLC||26|
|EI GROUP PLC||54|
|MAN GROUP PLC||27|
|ESURE GROUP PLC||65|
|FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES NV||27|
|FDM GROUP HOLDINGS PLC||51|
|FIDESSA GROUP PLC||19|
|FERREXPO PLC ORD||21|
|GENEL ENERGY PLC||32|
|GREENE KING PLC||48|
|GO-AHEAD GROUP PLC||34|
|GREAT PORTLAND ESTATES PLC||48|
|GVC HOLDINGS PLC||11|
|HALFORDS GROUP PLC||74|
|HIKMA PHARMACEUTICALS PLC||35|
|HILL & SMITH HOLDINGS PLC||16|
|HAMMERSON PLC ORD||40|
|HOCHSCHILD MINING PLC||8|
|HARGREAVES LANSDOWN PLC ORD||36|
|HSBC HOLDINGS PLC||34|
|HASTINGS GROUP HOLDINGS LTD||36|
|HANSTEEN HOLDINGS PLC||53|
|HOWDEN JOINERY GROUP PLC||27|
|INTERNATIONAL CONSOLIDATED AIRLINES GROUP SA||41|
|INTERMEDIATE CAPITAL GROUP||17|
|IG GROUP HOLDINGS PLC||26|
|INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP PLC||49|
|3I GROUP PLC ORD||49|
|IMPERIAL BRANDS PLC||54|
|INTU PROPERTIES PLC||43|
|INTERNATIONAL PERSONAL FINAN||36|
|INTERTEK GROUP PLC||48|
|JD SPORTS FASHION PLC||26|
|J.D. WETHERSPOON PLC||63|
|JUST EAT PLC||28|
|JANUS HENDERSON GROUP PLC||51|
|JOHN LAING GROUP PLC||34|
|JARDINE LLOYD THOMPSON GROUP||32|
|JOHNSON MATTHEY PLC||47|
|JUPITER FUND MANAGEMENT PLC||60|
|JUST GROUP PLC||8|
|KAZ MINERALS PLC||15|
|KIER GROUP PLC||18|
|LAND SECURITIES GROUP PLC||69|
|LIBERTY GLOBAL PLC - CLASS A||28|
|LIBERTY GLOBAL PLC - CLASS C||28|
|LEGAL & GENERAL GROUP PLC ORD||57|
|LLOYDS BANKING GROUP PLC||55|
|LONDONMETRIC PROPERTY PLC||42|
|LANCASHIRE HOLDINGS LTD||49|
|LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP ORD||31|
|MITCHELLS AND BUTLERS PLC||36|
|MICRO FOCUS INTERNATIONAL PLC||34|
|MCCARTHY & ST||28|
|MEDICLINIC INTERNATIONAL PLC||45|
|MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS PLC||93|
|MORGAN ADVANCED MATERIALS PLC||26|
|MORGAN SINDALL GROUP PLC||26|
|MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP PLC||85|
|MONEYSUPERMARKET.COM GROUP PLC||32|
|MELROSE INDUSTRIES PLC||0|
|WM MORRISON SUPERMARKETS P L C||40|
|MITIE GROUP PLC||19|
|METRO BANK PLC||49|
|NCC GROUP PLC||23|
|NATIONAL EXPRESS GROUP PLC||46|
|NATIONAL GRID PLC||53|
|NEWRIVER REIT PLC||33|
|NEX GROUP PLC||18|
|OCADO GROUP PLC||22|
|OLD MUTUAL PLC||63|
|ONESAVINGS BANK PLC||47|
|PARAGON BANKING GROUP PLC||49|
|PETS AT HOME GROUP PLC||63|
|PROVIDENT FINANCIAL PLC||38|
|PHOENIX GROUP HOLDINGS||33|
|POLYPIPE GROUP PLC||22|
|PREMIER OIL PLC||21|
|PENNON GROUP PLC||42|
|PZ CUSSONS PLC||37|
|QINETIQ GROUP PLC||23|
|RATHBONE BROTHERS PLC||35|
|RECKITT BENCKISER GROUP PLC||44|
|ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND GROUP PLC||46|
|RDI REIT PLC||38|
|ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC ORD A||34|
|ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC||34|
|RIO TINTO PLC||30|
|ROYAL MAIL PLC||59|
|RPC GROUP PLC||28|
|ROLLS-ROYCE HOLDING PLC||34|
|RANDGOLD RESOURCES LTD||28|
|RSA INSURANCE GROUP PLC||40|
|RESTAURANT GROUP PLC/THE||45|
|RENTOKIL INITIAL PLC||36|
|SAFESTORE HOLDINGS PLC||27|
|J SAINSBURY PLC||46|
|SCHRODERS PLC ORD||44|
|SCHRODERS PLC ORD NVTG||44|
|STAGECOACH GROUP PLC||19|
|SAGE GROUP PLC||47|
|SEGRO PLC ORD||40|
|ST JAMES S PLACE PLC ORD||40|
|STANDARD LIFE ABERDEEN PLC||46|
|DS SMITH PLC||21|
|SMITHS GROUP PLC||45|
|ST. MODWEN PROPERTIES PLC||39|
|WH SMITH PLC||52|
|SMITH & NEPHEW PLC||59|
|SANNE GROUP PLC||14|
|SOPHOS GROUP PLC||44|
|SPORTS DIRECT INTERNATIONAL||34|
|SPIRE HEALTHCARE GROUP PLC||53|
|SPIRAX SARCO ENGINEERING PLC||23|
|SERCO GROUP PLC||30|
|SSP GROUP PLC||58|
|STANDARD CHARTERED PLC||54|
|STOBART GROUP LTD||5|
|SUBSEA 7 SA||12|
|SEVERN TRENT PLC||70|
|SIRIUS MINERALS PLC||41|
|TALKTALK TELECOM GROUP PLC||51|
|TATE & LYLE PLC||45|
|TP ICAP PLC||51|
|THOMAS COOK GROUP PLC||67|
|TED BAKER PLC||26|
|TELECOM PLUS PLC||28|
|TULLOW OIL PLC||26|
|TRAVIS PERKINS PLC||42|
|THE RENEWABLES INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP LTD.||100|
|TAYLOR WIMPEY PLC||27|
|ULTRA ELECTRONICS HOLDINGS PLC||17|
|UNITE GROUP PLC||33|
|UNITED UTILITIES PLC||29|
|VECTURA GROUP PLC||40|
|VEDANTA RESOURCES PLC||18|
|VODAFONE GROUP PLC||43|
|WEIR GROUP PLC||27|
|JOHN WOOD GROUP PLC||28|
|WORKSPACE GROUP PLC||39|
|WILLIAM HILL PLC||36|
Gender inequality is one of the biggest issues of our time – and one that generates so much frustration. Rather than feeling trapped or despondent, let’s do something about it. That’s why we’re excited to launch the Future World GIRL Fund, which empowers all of us to use our money to help improve gender diversity in the UK.
The fund works by favouring those companies which have achieved higher levels of gender diversity.
When we invest in women’s success, we are investing in the success of businesses.
This is a fund that can make a difference, and make a positive difference.Nigel Wilson – Legal & General Group CEO
We believe the best business decisions are made when there’s a diverse group of people debating and challenging them. That’s why the Future World GIRL Fund focuses on UK companies that are committed to gender diversity at board level and beyond. Increasing gender diversity means different perspectives get heard, which can lead to better outcomes for the customer, company and society. It’s not just the right thing to do; it makes business sense.#EmpowerWomen
Diversity should be seen as the solution, not another problem to solve
The Future World GIRL fund invests in companies based on how they are performing against four measures of gender diversity. We take around 350 of the largest companies in the UK and give them a score between 0-100 based on:
Board of Directors
Companies must achieve a 30% representation of women in these four measures before they receive a positive gender diversity score.
We will engage with low-scoring companies to discuss how they can improve their gender diversity.
The Future World GIRL fund tracks our newly created ‘Solactive L&G Gender in Leadership UK Index’.
We apply our proprietary gender diversity scores to the index, which forms our original investment universe, ‘tilting’ the index in favour of high-scoring companies and away from low-scoring ones.+View companies’ gender diversity scores
We have been talking about the benefits of diversity with companies, recruitment agencies and at a higher policy level since 2011.
Here are some key milestones in our gender diversity work.
We started voting against Chairs of all-male boards at FTSE 100 companies.
We started voting against Chairs of all-male boards at FTSE 250 companies.
We started voting against FTSE companies with less than 25% female board members.
Please remember the value of your investment and any income from it may fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. You may get back less than you invest.