First UK investment fund to boost gender diversity launches

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The first fund aimed at encouraging gender diversity among UK companies has been launched by Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM).

The investment fund will favour shares in firms that have the best record on gender diversity.

LGIM will score and rank companies according to four different diversity measures, including women on the board.

Only one of the UK’s biggest 350 firms achieved full marks for gender diversity in its new index.

The investment firm the Renewables Infrastructure Group achieved a top score of 100, for the number of women on its board, among its executives, in management and in the workforce.

Companies are expected to reach a minimum of 30% representation of women in these four measures, said LGIM.

Other companies in the index, which was devised by LGIM, to score 85 or above were Merlin Entertainments, information company Ascential, JD Williams-owner N Brown, Next and Marks & Spencer.

LGIM said the fund, called the L&G Future World Gender in Leadership UK Index Fund (GIRL), was expected to “raise gender diversity standards in companies across the UK equity market, by allocating more to companies that have achieved higher levels of gender diversity.

“The fund aims to empower investors to make a difference to the companies in which they invest and wider society,” it added.

Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing at LGIM, said the fund “empowers us all to use our money to help companies to progress”.

“When we invest in the success of women, we are investing in the success of business. Collectively, we can help achieve gender equality and improve gender diversity in the UK,” she added.

LGIM will put £50m of its own money into the fund, which will be open to both institutional and retail investors.