Sallie Krawcheck is quite literally putting her money where her mouth is. The former Bank of America executive, who has gone on record many times bashing Wall Street for its lack of gender diversity in the higher ranks, has launched an index fund that focuses on companies with a high percentage of female leaders.
The fund was launched on the premise that companies with greater gender diversity often provide better long-term results, according to the firm. The Pax Elevate Global Index Fund invests in roughly 400 companies that rank highest in an algorithm of sorts that’s based on differently weighted criteria.
The index looks at the representation of women on the board of directors and in executive management, whether or not their CEO or CFO is female, and if the company is part of a UN movement surrounding women’s empowerment. They also look at whether the company meets certain environmental, social and governance or sustainability standards.
While the index is a list of investments, it’s also an informal ranking of the most gender-diverse public companies – firms that may offer women a better chance at climbing the corporate ladder.
Somewhat surprisingly, particularly considering Krawcheck’s stance on Wall Street’s lack of gender diversity at the top, the index features several banks and other financial firms. At least 50 of the 400 companies that were part of the index as of March 31 were financial services companies – banks, investment firms or insurance companies, at least according to our count.
In fairness, though, very few are large American firms. Canadian banks, on the other, litter the list of holdings. Nearly every big Canadian bank is included – RBC, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto-Dominion Bank, National Bank of Canada and CIBC. In fact, the firm’s top holding as of 4/30 was RBC, making up 2.9% of the index.
The two big French banks – BNP Paribas and Societe Generale – are also part of the index. Deutsche Bank is the other big European name to fit the profile.
Several Australian and Swedish banks also made the cut. Australia's Westpac Banking Corp. is one of the index's "leading companies," meaning it ranks as one of the best in terms of gender diversity across all industries, according to a PR firm representing the fund. Westpac has a female CEO and a board comprised of 30% women. Roughly 60% of the overall workforce at Westpac are women, including 42% in leadership roles.
In the States, U.S. Bancorp is the only representative among larger banks, according to the index. Not one Asian bank made the list.
The full index of holdings as of March 31 is below. If you’re a woman with executive hopes, these firms at least have a recent track record of gender diversity at the highest ranks.
A PR firm representing Krawcheck didn't respond to an interview request by the time of publication.
Aberdeen Asset Management
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena S.p.A.
Banco Santander S.A.
Bank Leumi Le-Israel
Bank of Montreal Danone SA
Bank of Nova Scotia Dassault Systemes SA
Bank of the Philippine Islands DBS Group Holdings
Bank Pekao SA Delek Group
Barclays Africa Group Limited Delhaize Group SA
BDO Unibank, Inc
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Deutsche Bank AG
Deutsche Boerse AG
Federal Realty Investment Trust
Insurance Australia Group Limited
Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd
National Bank of Canada
Pinnacle West Capital Corporation
Principal Financial Group, Inc.
Prudential Financial, Inc.
QBE Insurance Group Limited
Regions Financial Corporation
Royal Bank of Canada
Shin Kong Financial Holding Co.
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken
Sun Life Financial
Western Union Company
Westpac Banking Corporation
Zurich Insurance Group