Investors should target female-led companies for greater returns

 

Ethical investment as well as backing companies with more females in senior roles could increase returns, according to a senior member of UBS.

Analysis from financial services company UBS shows that investment in gender-diverse portfolios could have earned up to 20% more than the MSCI World Index between 2010 and 2017.

Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of UBS’s wealth management arm, believes the investment world has changed and socially responsible investment is now a more lucrative option – although he says he “would not advocate mixing investing and philanthropy”.

He added: “In our view, gender diversity serves to a certain degree as a proxy for good corporate governance practices. Our gender-focused company basket outperformed the MSCI World Index by 2% a year on average between 2011 [and] November 2017.”

Debunking the myths

After spending many years disregarding the idea of ethical investment and gender diversity, Haefele now sees the merit, and it’s becoming more common across the board.

Jackie VanderBrug, managing director at US Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management, believes the myths and preconceptions around this style of investing are putting some people off.

“As soon as I say gender-based investing, people think soft, pink and small,” VanderBrug said. “And this is not soft. It is adding rigorous analysis to your investment process. It is not pink. It is not only for women. It is definitely not small. You are seeing massive institutional investors dedicating parts of their portfolio in this direction.”

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