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January 10, 2012
Pax World Appoints New Portfolio Manager for Global Women's Equality Fund
    by Robert Kropp

Ivka Kalus-Bystricky will lead Pax World's Global Women's Equality Fund, which invests primarily in large-cap companies that promote gender equality and women's advancement.


Pax World Management announced recently that it has appointed Ivka Kalus-Bystricky to the position of Lead Portfolio Manager for the sustainable investment firm's Global Women's Equality Fund (PXWEX). The Global Women's Equality Fund invests primarily in large-cap companies that promote gender equality and women's advancement.

Kalus-Bystricky will remain in her role as portfolio manager of the Pax World International Fund (PXINX), a position she has held since the fund's launch in 2008.

The Global Women's Equality Fund identifies corporate leaders in gender empowerment through corporate policies and transparency regarding the effectiveness of those policies. At least 80% of its assets are invested in equities; the most heavily represented industry sectors are Health Care, Information Technology, Financials, and Consumer Staples. As of September 30, 2011, slightly more than half of the fund's assets were invested in US stocks.

Since May 1, 2010, the benchmark for the fund has been the MSCI World Large Cap Index.

In recent years, many reports have identified a correlation between board and management diversity and corporate performance. Links to several of them can be found at Pax World's website.

In 2009, when Pax World teamed with KLD Research & Analytics to construct the first Gender Investment Index series for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Julie Gorte, Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing, told SocialFunds.com, "Our review of literature indicates that with very few exceptions a positive correlation, and in some cases a positive causality, can be found to exist between gender empowerment and financial performance."

"What we found to be especially interesting in our research was the positive correlation between gender diversity in Boards of Directors and senior management and the quality of earnings reported by companies," Gorte continued. "Sustainability is a robust indicator of high quality of earnings, and gender issues are very much a part of sustainability."

Despite the research, a report issued last year by GovernanceMetrics International (GMI) found that in the US, "The aggregate percentage of female directors has barely budged from 12.1% to 12.3% in the last three years."

Shortly after GMI's study was published, Joe Keefe, CEO of Pax World, sent a letter to 165 mutual funds, pension fund fiduciaries, and women's colleges and universities, urging them to "consider adopting a proxy voting policy, like Pax World's, that commits your organization to raising its voice in favor of gender diversity on corporate boards."

During the 2010 proxy season, Pax World withheld votes from 74 board slates because those companies did not nominate any women directors.

Following her appointment, Kalus-Bystricky said, "Some of the world's most promising, innovative companies are those that empower and advance women so that they can be full contributors. I truly believe the Global Women's Equality Fund will be able to demonstrate over time that these companies make better long-term investments."

 

 
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