Fondsfrauen discussed the issue of gender-lens investing with panellists on the 4th Sustainable Investor Summit 2021 in Frankfurt on 29th of September.

During this one day conference, which was organized by IC Institutional Capital Forum, many aspects of sustainable investments were discussed, one of which was “Gender and Diversity Investing – How to Implement Gender and Diversity in Business in Finance”.

The panellists were:

  • Ida Beerhalter, Member of the Advisory Board, Nixdorf Kapital. She is also heading a Saudi family office, where the principals are women.
  • Berenice Brügel, Sustainability Analyst, GLS Investment Management. GLS is an ecological bank which is managing sustainable investment funds: equity funds, a mixed fund and a microfinance fund.
  • Christina Juhasz, Chief Investment Officer, Women´s World Banking Asset Management. She is running the Women’s Word Bank’s gender lens investing funds.
  • Tim Radjy, Founder and Managing Partner, AlphaMundi Group. He used to work for UBS and now has his own impact company, with two gender lens funds.
  • Yulia Stark, President, European Women Association (EWA). She is traveling a lot to the Middle East, bringing business women together, especially female founders.
  • Monika Waber, Head of Organisation and People Development, Swiss Re. She is working in HR and talked about the practical challenges in setting up diverse teams.

The panel was moderated by Anke Dembowski, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Fondsfrauen.

Key findings of the discussion were:

Ida Beerhalter recommends that female investors make clear that they want to have a focus on the working conditions of women in their portfolio companies. Only when they make this clear, the asset managers will react accordingly and use a gender lens.

Berenice Brügel says that engagement is key! Investors should ask their portfolio companies for example, how many women are in leading positions and how the gender pay gap is.

Christina Juhasz explains that women working in high positions is a special challenge in the emerging markets, but a rewarding one. However, getting appropriate data is still difficult. She is happy to share the data her company has collected.

Tim Radjy finds that gender lens investing is not only about fair empowerment of women, but rather a business case. Companies with a diverse staff are performing better.

Yulia Stark says that there need to be more women in the decision process of financing start-ups. Only then female start-ups will get appropriate financing. She also points out that female start-ups tend to have a higher survival ratio than male start-ups.

Monika Waber says that diverse staff is more than a moral imperative. Inclusion and diversity are business cases, and also investors are asking questions about this issue. However, collecting specific LGBT data of your staff is restricted and only allowed when the employees give their consent. Also, the data has to be deleted after it has been used for the declared purpose.

Photos: Manuela Fröhlich

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