The Women and Girls fund, from the Global Impact Initiative, is now live, and it’s already received $300 million in committed capital.

The firm’s founder, Giles Gunesekera, gave us a sneak preview earlier in the year, and he’s made a lot of progress to pull together this unique, actively managed equity fund, that supports companies with strong gender equality policies, while also donating funds directly to charities that focus on women and girls. 

“The advantage of a fund such as this is that the bigger it gets, the more social impact we can create.  We are not just donating to charities, we are collaborating with them to measure, map and monitor social impact to the UN SDGs. We will be able to drive and accelerate positive social change via granular, intentional and measurable reporting on the social impact achieved.” Giles Gunesekera says. 

The global equity model will allocate to companies leading the way in promoting gender equality, across board representation, workforce recruitment, management processes, remuneration and policies. The overriding framework is based on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Robecco will manage the portfolio, aiming to outperform the MSCI World index (Developed and Emerging Markets). While the mandate is focussed on gender issues, it will also maintain an exclusion policy covering alcohol, gaming, tobacco, weapons, fossil fuels and adult entertainment.

Most unique about the strategy is that investors have a choice of either taking their dividend income, as one usually would, or they can donate the income to the fund’s charity partners. These include: Grameen, Malala Fund, UN Women, UNICEF and World Vision. And investors always have the option to contribute additional funds to the charity allocation. 

The fund’s responsible entity will be Equity Trustees. Equity Trustees’ Chair, Carol Schwartz said of the strategy.

“Having gender equality around decision making tables and integrated throughout an organisation is absolutely crucial to ensuring it’s a high performing one. A growing cohort of investors are recognising this, and so it’s fantastic we can offer this global fund opportunity via Equity Trustees.” 

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