Advancing Gender Equality, One Share at a Time

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Like many millennials, Sandra Bourbon, founder of Framtidsfeministen (in English – Future feminist), an organisation focused on gender equality, was looking to put her money where her heart is. She wanted to invest in a way that was in line with her thoughts about gender equality but found no product to fulfill her purpose. So she made it happen in a simple and effective way and created her own equity portfolio. Bourbon shared her methods and her thoughts during a short interview with NordSIP.

    Bourbon’s method is simple. First, she screens for companies that present the right gender balance at the top management level, that is to say at least 40% women but no more than 60%. Then she focuses on other fundamental criteria that should insure a good equity return over time: dividends of 3-5%, a business model easy to understand, and a good history of growth and profitability. The chosen stocks are then equal weighted and re-balanced twice a year. The whole list of stocks is reviewed once a year in order to examine the fundamentals of existing positions and possibly include new candidates. . The list is published in social media and the portfolio is shared on Shareville, a platform that allows individual investors to follow the activities of other experienced investors and get inspiration for their own investments. As can be observed on Shareville, this strategy has been rather successful, as it exhibits 55% outperformance since inception in the first half of 2015.

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    Earlier this month, the annual AllBright report was published. It exhibits statistics and analysis on gender equality in Swedish companies. Framtidsfeministen uses on of the report’s features, the so-called green list, which shows the companies corresponding to its initial criteria of 40 to 60% women in top management (on page 7). It is based on this new list, which has grown by 7 companies compared to last year to a total of 39, that Bourbon has reshuffled her portfolio at the beginning of this week. Out of her 8 positions, she sold two, Sectra och Dedicare, as they were no longer on the AllBright green list, and bought two new ones: the ICA group, which operates one of the main supermarket chains in Sweden, and the probiotics company BioGaia. The portfolio has two positions in real estate: Wihlborgs Fastigheter and Atrium Ljungberg. SWECO, a technical consultant in infrastructure, industry and buildings is also part of the portfolio. Other positions include the fashion giant H&M, the industrial manufacturing company Xano and the gaming company NetEnt.

    For Bourbon, this is not just a sound investment strategy. It is also a way to show women the door to stock market investing. “In Sweden, we are very close to equality in terms of salary pay gap,” she explains, “but in terms of financial equality, women will be lagging behind because they don’t invest in the stock market as much as men. They are usually more conservative and tend to prefer fixed income investments, but with today’s rates, their return will not be good enough.” To facilitate access to her strategy, Bourbon has also set up a portfolio with the retail investment platform Aktieinvest. There, investors can choose a saving plan that invests every month a pre-defined amount in a strategy such as Bourbon’s.

    Right now, Bourbon shares her career between a day-job, working for the change-focused consulting company Centigo, and moonlighting for Framtidsfeministen, where she also provides educational and inspirational lectures. Bourbon concludes: “Concretely I would like to make it possible for more people to invest in a gender-equal way and to find a product that is more accessible. But right now, I go with the flow. I am meeting a lot of very interesting people and I like having a balance between my work at Centigo and Framtidsfeministen.”


    Picture (c) NordSIP

    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA is Editor-in-Chief for NordSIP and Managing Director for Big Green Tree Media. She has 18 years of experience in the asset management industry in Stockholm, London and Geneva, including as a long/short equity hedge fund portfolio manager, and buy-side analyst, but also as CFO and COO in several asset management firms. Aline holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a License in Economic Sciences from the University of Geneva.
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