BMO women in leadership fund launched

Investors have chance to rewards companies with female CEOs and female representation

The Bank of Montreal is attempting to promote gender-diverse leadership with its launch of the BMO Women in Leadership Fund, according to a report by Financial Post.

The mutual fund allows investors to reward North American companies for gender diversity by investing exclusively in companies that have either a female chief executive or a board with at least 25 per cent female representation.

Although other funds, such as IA Clarington Inhance SRI Funds and NEI Ethical Funds, have also incorporated gender diversity into their funds, BMO is the first to offer a Canadian product that exclusively targets gender diversity investing.

Gender diversity investing is gaining popularity as a segment in impact investment, or socially responsible investing that marries profit making with benefitting society and the environment. In Canada, corporations are encouraged to have more diversity in their boards − with the Ontario Securities Commission having implemented a rule in 2014 that asks companies to outline their plans for getting more women in executive positions.

The Financial Post article cites studies that explain why it is good to invest in companies with more board and leadership diversity: a Grant Thornton report last September shows that companies in the US, UK, and India with at least one female executive outperformed firms with all-male boards; as well as a study by MSCI, with its findings showing that boards with more women tend to have fewer governance-related scandals, such as bribery, corruption, and fraud.