UBS gender equality ETF breaks through $100m AUM ceiling

Sep 13th, 2018 | By | Category: Equities

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The UBS Global Gender Equality UCITS ETF (GENDER SW) has surpassed $100 million in assets under management just eight months after the fund launched in January earlier this year.

Suni Harford, Head of Investments at UBS Asset Management

Suni Harford, Head of Investments at UBS Asset Management.

Listed on SIX Swiss Exchange, the fund provides exposure to global companies perceived to be leading the field in terms of gender equality.

According to UBS, appetite for investing in the ETF highlights investors’ increasing awareness of the social and economic benefits of gender equality.

The firm cites Bloomberg data showing that total asset flows in 2017 into investments focused on initiatives promoting women reached $2.2 billion, a massive increase from $100 million in 2014.

Suni Harford, Head of Investments at UBS Asset Management, commented, “We have been committed to providing sustainable ETFs since 2011. The success of our ETF serves as further proof that sustainable goals such as gender equality are a key priority for our clients.”

The fund tracks the Solactive Equileap Global Gender Equality 100 Leaders Index, created by Frankfurt-based index provider Solactive and backed by analytics powered by gender equality foundation Equileap.

The fund holds 100 companies from a universe of over 3,000 firms across 23 developed market countries. To refine the selection to just 100 companies, the investment process identifies high-ranking firms according to Equileap’s Gender Scorecard, a 19-criteria methodology inspired by the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles. The scorecard is based on four categories: gender balance in leadership & workforce; equal compensation & work life balance; policies promoting gender equality; and commitment to transparency and accountability.

The methodology always selects a minimum of 30 US-listed stocks, choosing the firms with the highest Equileap score. Then the next highest scoring US stocks will be added up to maximum 50 US stocks in total, but only if they score above a certain Equileap score. Lastly, the highest scoring companies from the rest of the world will be added to total 100 stocks in the composition.

US-listed stocks account for 50% of the entire index weight while the weights of all the other countries are equally weighted to account for the other 50%. Constituents within each country grouping are also equally weighted. Reconstitution and rebalancing occurs annually.

The fund has a total expense ratio (TER) of 0.20%. UBS channels 5% of the ETF’s management fees (0.01% of total fund assets) into philanthropic projects, via the UBS Optimus Foundation, which support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal.

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