Showing posts with label The Diversity Portfolio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Diversity Portfolio. Show all posts

Monday, November 28, 2011

Obama Administration releases Diversity Plan

The plan seeks to implement Executive Order 13583 establishing a coordinated, government-wide initiative to promote diversity within the Federal government. The Executive order "directs departments and agencies to develop and implement a more comprehensive focus on diversity." The Plan focuses on:

  1. Workforce Diversity

  2. Workplace Inclusion

  3. Sustainability

Much of the initiative is concerned with metrics, that is, developing and collecting appropriate statistics to measure diversity and how well the Government is meeting it's goal to become more so. Another focal point appears to be outreach. Other key steps include leadership development and mentoring.


These are all tried and true methods. While there is nothing earth shattering in the Report and Plan, we find it a welcome alternative to the eight years that the previous Administration spent talking about diversity without ever once offering a plan for the Federal Government to become more so. See: http://www.opm.gov/diversityandinclusion/reports/GovernmentwideDIStrategicPlan.pdf

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fund to Invest in Companies That Promote Women Board Members

According to the New York Times, "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.

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.

Stargate Capital in Britain is in the process of raising a second venture capital fund, worth about £10 million, or $16 million, to help women entrepreneurs, while Amazone Euro, a fund run in Geneva, has invested in companies with female board members.

Two separate studies in 2007 by McKinsey and Catalyst, the business research firms, showed that companies in Europe and the United States with the most women on their boards were more profitable than others. But the studies did not point to specific causes for any such correlation.

In 2003, Norway became the first country to adopt a law that said 40 percent of board members at large companies must be women, but there is not yet any research that analyzes how the changes have affected the companies’ performance.

The banking crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers have ignited a debate about whether more women in senior roles would help improve corporate governance. In Britain, the minister for women and equality, Harriet Harman, caused a stir over the summer when she partly blamed the lack of women in senior roles in the financial industry for the crisis, saying if it would have been 'Lehman Sisters' rather than Lehman Brothers, the company might have survived.

A review sponsored by the British government on an overhaul of corporate governance, to be published next month, could add to pressures on companies to promote equality of the sexes among their directors."

This looks a lot like the Diversity Fund we started in 2003.

Friday, August 31, 2007

This Week's Events and News

Social Investors Launch Campaign to Halt Proposed Changes to Proxy Access Rules

According to Portfolio.com, "Socially concerned investors groups say they won't stand by and see Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox crimp their right to demand company accountability on important issues like the business risks of climate change. The Social Investment Forum, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and Ceres, a coalition of investors, environmental groups and others, unveiled a new web site to attract 500 institutions and financial professionals to sign a joint statement against proposed S.E.C. changes."

As we noted earlier,

"Those most directly impacted by the policy change are large in number but divided and unorganized. These include shareholder groups like the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, labor-related funds, faith-based pension funds, 'socially responsible' mutual funds, and individual stockholders...these groups have been unable to mount the type of strategic, sustained effort, or bring forward the new ideas and analysis required to prevent the imposition of a more restrictive shareholder access policy."

This effort is an attempt to even the field. We are not sure it will work, but time will tell.

President of Standard and Poors Steps Down


"Kathleen Corbet, president of the credit rating company Standard and Poor’s, resigned after lawmakers and investors criticized the company for failing to judge the risks of securities backed by subprime mortgages."

Terror Free Investment Product

To divest their money from terror-sponsoring nations got another push Wednesday with a new plan aimed at making college savings investments "terror-free."

Last year, Missouri became the first state to order its employee pension funds to dump shares of companies that deal with Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, all of which are on the U.S. State Department's list of terror-sponsoring nations."

As we noted, we think the SEC was on the right track when it posted online tools to assist in this process. See: http://twisri.blogspot.com/2007/07/sec-backs-off.html

SEC News and Enforcement Actions

On August 23, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission "filed an emergency action to shut down a $25 million Ponzi scheme that victimized hundreds of senior and other investors nationwide who bought fractional ownership interests in life insurance policies. The Commission alleges that Donald Neuhaus of Redding, Calif., his daughter Kimberley Snowden, and their company Secure Investment Services, Inc., orchestrated the Ponzi scheme that falsely promised safe, secure and profitable interests in life insurance policies known as "viaticals" while failing to disclose the dire financial condition of the investment venture. Many of the investors were elderly and invested their retirement savings. The Commission also alleges the father-daughter fraudsters pocketed $700,000 for their personal use while the scam was on the verge of collapse."

On August 28, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced "fraud charges against a Bay Area attorney for her role in illegally backdating stock option grants. The Commission charged Lisa C. Berry with routinely backdating option grants from 1997 to 2003, first as General Counsel of KLA-Tencor Corporation and then as General Counsel of Juniper Networks, Inc. The Commission alleges that Berry's misconduct caused the two companies to conceal hundreds of millions of dollars in stock option compensation expenses relating to undisclosed in-the-money options provided to company executives and employees. "

Also on August 28, 2007, The Commission "filed a settled enforcement action against Juniper, an information technology company based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Juniper has consented to a permanent injunction against violations of the antifraud and other provisions of the federal securities laws. KLA, a San Jose-based semiconductor equipment company, previously settled charges brought by the Commission"

The Diversity Portfolio

The Creative Investment Research, Inc. Diversity Portfolio contains equity investments in some of the largest U.S. companies. These companies have been selected for inclusion because they have outstanding financial and diversity performance. Diversity performance is calculated by reviewing several key measures: Human capital, CEO commitment, and supplier diversity. From 4/7/06 to 8/30/07, the model portfolio returned 15.56% versus an 15.48% return for the market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, a major stock market index (without considering dividends. Returns calculated before fees deducted. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.) See DiversityFund.net for more information...

Angels Descend on Minority Business Enterprises

Investors gather to consider investments in top minority-owned ventures.

Virginia Housing and Community Development Corporation (VHCDC) continues its pioneering initiatives to facilitate the flow of capital to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) with the announcement of the 2007 MBE Capital Call Conference, Exhibition, and Venture Forum -- September 20 & 21 in Hampton, Virginia. The MBE Capital Call presents entrepreneurs with innovative and marketable business ideas the opportunity to secure capital, and other essential resources, by "Pitching" their business plans to active, accredited investors. This event invites Entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, Investors, aspiring investors, and College/University Students to Hampton, Virginia for a rewarding two day conference aimed at facilitating investment in minority- and women-owned businesses.

VHCDC created the MBE Capital Call to expose and connect MBEs, particularly African-American, Hispanic, and Native American entrepreneurs, to capital (funding) to start and grow or expand their business. This year, twenty-one (21) entrepreneurs will be selected to pitch their business plans to active, accredited investors. A team of active investors and business development professionals will select the presenters from among registrations received thru August 10, 2007. Presenters will be judged on several criteria and may pitch plans for virtually any industry/business sector.

Registration is easy, and there's no additional cost to enter the competition. Business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, investors, lenders, and students may register by visiting the MBE Capital Call website: www.mbecapitalcall.com now for complete details, registration, and terms and conditions.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This Week's Events and News

SEC News and Enforcement Actions

On August 9, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission "filed a civil injunctive action against former senior officials of Nicor, Inc., a major Chicago-area natural gas distributor, alleging financial fraud lasting from 1999 to 2002. The SEC's complaint alleges that former Chairman, CEO and President Thomas Fisher, former CFO and Executive Vice-President Kathleen Halloran, and former Treasurer and Vice-President George Behrens engaged in or approved improper transactions, and misrepresented Nicor's gas inventory in order to meet earnings targets and increase the company's revenues under a performance-based utility rate plan."

On August 13, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced "the distribution of approximately $55.6 million in Fair Funds to more than 200,000 investors who were harmed by fraudulent market timing in certain Banc One mutual funds (One Group Funds). The Fair Fund resulted from a settled enforcement action in which Banc One Investment Advisors Corporation (BOIA) agreed to pay $10 million in disgorgement and $40 million in civil penalties to settle charges of unlawful market timing. The entire Fair Fund, plus accumulated interest, has been distributed to investors."

On August 17, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission "filed fraud charges against Michael J. Byrd, a former Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., alleging that he disregarded indications that other senior corporate executives were improperly backdating stock option grants at the company. The Commission alleges that Byrd, of Saratoga, Calif., learned of instances in which Brocade's then-CEO and others were backdating options for certain individuals, yet failed to ensure that the company properly accounted for the option expenses and disclosed them to investors."

Greenbacks in green investing -Investment funds likely to grow

"Green is good. At least that's the bet of an increasing number of investment fund managers, retirees and armchair stock pickers who are pouring billions into so-called green stocks, and not necessarily for the love of nature.

They're chasing lucrative returns from companies that promise new ways to recycle, power automobiles and harness the wind and sun. Many have had success.

Green investment funds that have been around for at least a year report double-digit gains for the past 12 months. The KDL Global Climate 100 Index, which tracks companies working to offset global warming or its effects, is up nearly 25 percent."

See: http://www.montereyherald.com/business/ci_6677264?nclick_check=1

Investing with your values

According to The Truro Daily News,"While the primary goal of investing is to earn a reasonable profit, for many people it is important that their profit not come at the expense of compromising their social values.

In an era of increased awareness of social issues, many investors may be thinking about the social and environmental effects of their investment portfolios.

Socially responsible investing can encompass a variety of themes. The most common considerations are avoiding “sin stocks” such as firearms, alcohol, tobacco or gaming companies and avoiding companies with questionable labour or environmental practices. In more recent times there has also been a trend to favour companies that demonstrate sound corporate governance practices."

See: http://trurodaily.com/index.cfm?sid=55710&sc=73

We cannot ignore the environment - Climate change will be one of the biggest investment themes of the next 20 years

According to an 8/20/07 comment by published in Financial News Online, "With parts of Britain under water and forest fires in southern Europe this summer as well as the worst of the annual hurricane season yet to hit the Caribbean and southern US, it is hard to get away from news of climate change and how it is affecting daily life.

Without wanting to praise those who led the argument that climate change is the most serious issue facing the human race, it also represents one of the biggest investment themes for the next 20 years.

As such, it is time investors understood how and why climate change and investing are related and how they can adjust their portfolios accordingly.

This is not just about socially responsible investing or even whether you believe the scientific evidence. As an asset manager we have a fiduciary responsibility to provide investors with the best risk-adjusted returns looking at market trends and emerging sectors. It is becoming apparent that our responsibility extends to include environmental considerations in this analysis."

See: http://www.financialnews-us.com/?page=uscomment&contentid=2348577733

The Diversity Portfolio

The Creative Investment Research, Inc. Diversity Portfolio contains equity investments in some of the largest U.S. companies. These companies have been selected for inclusion because they have outstanding financial and diversity performance. Diversity performance is calculated by reviewing several key measures: Human capital, CEO commitment, and supplier diversity. From 4/7/06 to 8/22/07, the model portfolio returned 16.58% versus an 15.93% return for the market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, a major stock market index (without considering dividends. Returns calculated before fees deducted. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns.) See DiversityFund.net for more information...

Angels Descend on Minority Business Enterprises

Investors gather to consider investments in top minority-owned ventures.

Portsmouth, VA (PRWEB) July 17, 2007 -- Virginia Housing and Community Development Corporation (VHCDC) continues its pioneering initiatives to facilitate the flow of capital to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) with the announcement of the 2007 MBE Capital Call Conference, Exhibition, and Venture Forum -- September 20 & 21 in Hampton, Virginia. The MBE Capital Call presents entrepreneurs with innovative and marketable business ideas the opportunity to secure capital, and other essential resources, by "Pitching" their business plans to active, accredited investors. This event invites Entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, Investors, aspiring investors, and College/University Students to Hampton, Virginia for a rewarding two day conference aimed at facilitating investment in minority- and women-owned businesses.

VHCDC created the MBE Capital Call to expose and connect MBEs, particularly African-American, Hispanic, and Native American entrepreneurs, to capital (funding) to start and grow or expand their business. This year, twenty-one (21) entrepreneurs will be selected to pitch their business plans to active, accredited investors. A team of active investors and business development professionals will select the presenters from among registrations received thru August 10, 2007. Presenters will be judged on several criteria and may pitch plans for virtually any industry/business sector.

Registration is easy, and there's no additional cost to enter the competition. Business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, investors, lenders, and students may register by visiting the MBE Capital Call website: www.mbecapitalcall.com now for complete details, registration, and terms and conditions.