In a recent client meeting, financial advisor Stephen Rischall got asked about how to invest in companies that support gender equality and women’s issues in the workplace. Think of it as a #MeToo moment. “The client said that because of the attention on the #MeToo movement and the power behind it, he wanted to invest,” said Rischall, a certified financial planner and founder of 1080 Financial Group in Sherman Oaks, California.
“It was both about the potential return and the social impact,” Rischall said. “The client feels like there’s a correlation between the two, and he and his wife wanted to take a piece of their portfolio to invest more in line with their values.”While investing in companies based on their treatment of women is not new — the first so-called gender-lens fund appeared in the 1990s — the current spotlight on women in the workplace and equality has spurred renewed interest from retail investors. Options for putting that money to work have simultaneously expanded.
Since November — right after the #MeToo movement had gained traction — 12 new funds have emerged that zero in on women’s issues, adding to the 22 already existing, according to research from Veris Wealth Partners and consulting company Catalyst At Large.
That’s on top of dozens of other options — mutual funds and exchange traded funds — whose investments are made at least partly based on things like the presence of women in executive-level positions at the companies, including on their board of directors.
“In the last six months or so we definitely had an uptick in people asking if there’s a way they can invest more in companies that focus on female leadership and governance,” Rischall said. “We used to have younger people interested and asking about socially conscious investing, and now we’ve been seeing it come from both younger and older clients.”
Read more at CNBC