State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), the asset management business of State Street Corporation, has launched the SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE) on the NYSE Arca.
SHE seeks to track the performance of the SSGA Gender Diversity Index, which comprises listed US large capitalisation companies with the highest levels within their sectors of gender diversity on their boards of directors and in their senior leadership.
“SHE seeks to help address gender inequality in corporate America by offering investors an opportunity to create change with capital and seek a return on gender diversity,” says Kristi Mitchem, executive vice president and head of the Americas Institutional Client Group for SSGA. “This fund empowers investors to encourage more gender diverse leadership and support better long-term social and economic outcomes in support of gender diversity.”
According to a 2015 MSCI1 study that explored global trends in gender diversity on corporate boards between December 2009 and August 2015, companies with at least three female board members outperformed others in overall return on equity by more than 36 per cent. Despite these findings, American women account for an average of just 16 percent of the members of executive teams.
SSGA was inspired to develop the Index by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s (CalSTRS) efforts to move the needle on gender diversity in corporate America, especially for women in leadership positions.
To help strengthen third-party charitable organisations committed to enhancing gender diversity, SSGA will direct a portion of its revenue to nonprofit organisations that help develop girls as leaders in business and science.
“Closing the gender gap requires strengthening gender diversity and inclusion practices across corporate America,” says Alison Quirk, chief global human resources and corporate citizenship officer at State Street. “We believe that the root causes of biases that influence women being underrepresented at the most senior levels of executive and board leadership develop at an early age. We want to empower girls to take their place in business leadership, especially in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries that will be in high demand for the next 10 to 20 years. By paying it forward through the charitable contribution, we can build a better future.”
“SHE is designed to offer investors an opportunity to access the potential benefits of gender diverse leadership and seek to drive meaningful social change while maintaining core US large cap exposure,” says James Ross, executive vice president and global head of SPDR Exchange Traded Funds at SSGA. “As the first SPDR ETF to use a proprietary SSGA Index, SHE highlights a path for future innovative products that improve access to unique solutions for investors.”