Fund To Specialize In Promoting Women Directors

A Swiss investment company plans to raise awareness about the shortage of women on corporate boards around the world and generate returns for its investors in the process, The New York Times’s Julia Werdigier reports from London.

Naissance Capital, based in Zurich, is to start the Women’s Leadership Fund in January, which will invest exclusively in companies whose boards include women, or take minority stakes in companies that do not “understand the need for greater female representation” and use it as leverage to push through changes.

R. James Breiding, a co-founder of Naissance Capital and a former director of Rothschild Corporate Finance, said the fund was created after several studies showed a correlation between the number of female directors and a company’s performance.

“We feel companies that select and recruit people on merit should do better,” Mr. Breiding said. “Having greater diversity and independence of opinions helps.”

The fund’s board includes Kim Campbell, the former prime minister of Canada; Cherie Blair, a lawyer and the wife of Tony Blair, the former British prime minister; and Jenny Shipley, the former prime minister of New Zealand. Naissance has lined up $200 million from institutional investors and individuals to invest in 30 to 40 companies around the world, and plans to increase the size of the fund eventually to about $2 billion.

Naissance, which was founded in 1999 and specializes in what it calls “niche investment opportunities,” is one of a handful of firms that have created funds over the past three years to invest in companies with female senior executives.

Click here to read the full story on The New York Times


Thanks to:
Lynn Harris
Author, Unwritten Rules
Montreal, Canada