Gender Lens Investing Q1 2023

Gender Lens Investing Q1 2023 examines first-quarter performance and composition of gender lens equity funds and provides updates on gender lens fixed income, DEI equity funds, and women in the workplace and economy. The review also includes:

An update on our combined gender + climate investment criteria.

Key Findings

  • Publicly traded gender lens equity funds (GLEFs) totaled US$4.2 billion in AUM as of March 31, 2023. AUM for the global equity segment decreased for the quarter, driven by a decline in AUM at the largest fund, while AUM grew 14.8% for the regional group.  
  • There are 21 global equity funds and 22 regional equity funds available to individual investors. These are domiciled in the U.S., Canada, the E.U., Republic of Korea, and Japan. Nine GLEFs have launched in the last 12 months.
  • Gender lens fixed income AUM was US$8.9 billion as of March 31, 2023. Quarterly AUM grew 10.8%
  • There were new gender bond issues announced during the quarter, including the first commercial bank issue in Brazil, a U.K. bank issuance, and the first gender bonds in Argentina and Georgia.
  • We also watch sustainable bonds that employ a gender lens. There were new issues during the quarter, including by Banco de Bogota and global professional services firm Jacobs.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) funds totaled US$1.8 billion in AUM as of March 31, 2023, including one addition to our coverage universe. This growing group of funds focuses on investing in companies with robust DEI policies or social justice track records.
  • The report provides an update on gender + climate investment criteria. We update our combined gender equality and climate-focused criteria for investee entities. This framework is our take on a set of metrics and directions for use by gender + climate investors and managers of private and public portfolios.
  • The Parallelle Finance Scorecard is a tool for evaluating funds with an in-depth gender lens. Our next release of Scorecard rankings is Q2.

Figure A: 12 Largest GLEFs by AUM (in US$ millions)

As of March 31, 2023; Source: Fund fact sheets

Figure B: GLEF Top Absolute Performers. Along with the broader market, the gender lens equity funds generally traded up for the 3-month period ending March 31, 2023. Figure B shows the top absolute performers for the quarter (in base currencies), as well as their weights in the top two sectors for the GLEF asset class. Relative performance was mixed, with more funds outperforming in the 12-month period than for the quarter. A full discussion of performance and composition of the GLEF group is included in the report.