RBC ETF invests in Canadian companies that promote women

Morningstar Canada 8 March, 2018 | 6:00PM

Coinciding with International Women's Day, RBC Global Asset Management Inc. has launched an exchange-traded fund investing in Canadian companies that exhibit a commitment to female representation on their boards of directors and in senior executive roles. RBC Vision Women's Leadership MSCI Canada Index (symbol: RLDR) opened for trading today on the Aequitas NEO Exchange.

The market benchmark for the ETF, which has a management fee of 0.25%, is the MSCI Canada IMI Women's Leadership Select Index. To be eligible for inclusion, companies must have at least 30% female directors, or at least three female directors, or two female directors and one woman in a current executive leadership role.

The index constituents must also have a percentage of female directors on their boards that is greater than the average percentage of female directors on the board of all companies in the MSCI Canada IMI Index. Another requirement is that the company must have not faced "severe structural controversies or severe ongoing diversity-related controversies."

RBC GAM is a member of a coalition of Canadian institutional investors known as the Canadian 30% Club Investor Group, whose objective is to achieve a minimum of 30% women on corporate boards and in executive-management positions by the year 2022. "We hope this new ETF will help bring greater focus to the issue of gender diversity at Canadian companies," Judy Cotte, vice-president and head of corporate governance and responsible investment at RBC GAM, said in a release.

Getting the new ETF off to a strong start in terms of assets is a $100-million investment from OMERS, the pension fund for municipal employees in Ontario.

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