Gender equality-focused exchange traded funds could be a big theme of 2018 given the recent product launch from Lyxor and increasing flows towards ESG and SRI-type funds, say experts.
Data from TrackInsight shows that socially responsible investment stocks tracked by ETFs have gained 10.8% in EUR terms so far this year, and 3.1% over the past month.
In performance terms, SRI stocks have beaten the developed stocks category since 1 January by 0.8%, and they have also slipped past market-cap weighted stocks by roughly the same amount over that period.
Year to date, SRI stocks have also gained healthy inflows of $1.49 billion, and have scooped up $204 million over the last month, which is traditionally a rather slow period for capital markets.
Camilla Ritchie, who leads the Sustainable Balance Fund at Seven Investment Management, recently said that a key ESG theme to watch out for in 2018 could be gender equality.
“Gender equality is the United Nations’ fifth sustainable development goal and I would expect more choice to develop to meet this theme,” she said.
“With 6 February set to mark 100 years since women got the vote in the UK, it would be timely – not to mention overdue.”
Gender-focused fund launches in Europe
The most recent launch in Europe – and the first such fund on the European market – is the Lyxor Global Gender Equality UCITS ETF (ticker ELLE – meaning “she” in French) which costs 0.35% in annual fees. It has raised $12.57 million in assets since launch on 6 November, and tracks 150 companies across the globe that score highly for equality using criteria such as gender balance at top levels, equal pay and diversity-friendly corporate policies.
It follows the successful launch of State Street Global Advisors’ SPDR SSGA Diversity Index ETF (SHE) in the US last year, and thanks to generous seed capital it became the largest new ETF of 2016.
At the time of writing its assets are around $357 million and the fund is up 19.49% year to date in USD terms, compared to the S&P 500’s 21.84% over the same timeframe.