Blackrock ETF explores diversity and inclusion

Asset manager joins with Thomson Reuters for fund launch

Blackrock has teamed up with Thomson Reuters to launch what it claims is the first exchange traded fund (ETF) to invest in companies based on their inclusion and diversity policies.

The ETF uses the Thomson Reuters Global Large/Mid Diversity and Inclusion ex Controversial Weapons Equal Weight Total Return Index, which lists the top 100 companies with the most diverse and inclusive workplaces.

It uses 24 metrics across four key categories – diversity, inclusion, people development and news & controversies – to create the final index from more than 2,000 publicly-traded companies globally.

Blackrock said the index goes further than other indices in this segment which tend to focus more narrowly on aspects such as gender.

The fund has a total expense ratio of 0.25% and will form part of both iShares’ 10-strong Ucits thematic ETF range and its 15-strong family of Ucits environmental, social and governance (ESG) ETFs.

Blackrock said companies that promote diversity and inclusion practices stand to benefit when it comes to long-term performance.

Rachel Lord, head of EMEA at Blackrock, said: “We know that diverse teams make better decisions, and this is ultimately good for investors. We are launching this fund at a time when a spotlight is firmly on companies to show what they are doing to improve diversity of their workforce, and as investors demand new funds to express specific preferences within their portfolios.”

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