ETF dedicated to LGBT equality and inclusion lists on NYSE

Feb 27th, 2014 | By | Category: Equities

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) designed to offer access to corporations doing business in the United States with progressive workplace policies has debuted on the NYSE Arca.

ETF dedicated to LGBT equality and inclusion lists on NYSE

The NYSE Arca-listed Workplace Equality Portfolio (EQLT) is composed of companies that treat LGBT individuals equally and respectfully among all employees. (© Ludovic Bertron)

The Workplace Equality Portfolio (EQLT), which is sponsored by fund distributor ALPS, is linked to the Workplace Equality Index, an index composed of stocks of companies that treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals equally and respectfully among all employees.

The Workplace Equality Index was created by Denver Investments at the request of its clients and incepted in 2001. The firm has a longstanding track record of managing portfolios for individuals and foundations that choose to allocate investments in the securities of companies that support the LGBT community.

Companies included in the index must score 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, or have verifiable characteristics that would earn them such a score.

The screening criteria generally include mandatory language in a company’s equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, offering health benefits to same-sex partners or spouses of employees, along with other corporate benefits and privileges.

Other screens are performed with the goal of eliminating companies that would detract from the index such as companies in bankruptcy or reorganization. Stocks of the companies in the index are equal-weighted, typically with a market capitalization larger than $250 million. It is reconstituted with additions and deletions once a year, and rebalanced to equal weight at the end of every quarter.

Commenting on the launch, John Roberts, a partner at Denver Investments, said: “The Workplace Equality Portfolio is a timely new offering that allows all investors to access companies that embrace equality principles as a foundation in their human talent strategy.”

He added: “We see growing demand from investors to include the stocks of these forward-looking corporations in their investment strategies. Based on the firm’s experience managing LGBT-screened portfolios over the past 15 years, we know this approach is desired by many of our client and advisor relationships.”

The fund has total annual fund operating expenses of 0.75%.

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