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Demand for gender-equality bond shows potential for “women-themed” investing

Australia’s QBE Insurance Group’s “gender equality” bond drew A$8.25 billion in interest from investors — over-subscribing the A$400 million ($303 million) issue by more than 20x.

Half the investors were based in Asia; Europe and the Middle East accounted for 37% and the U.S. for 12%. QBE announced the bond in March. It backs companies that have strong workplace equality policies in place, such as the U.N.’s Women’s Empowerment principles.

“When you search Morningstar, there are very few securities that include ‘women’ as a focus,” HIP Investor’s Paul Herman, which rates bonds on both impact and financial performance, told ImpactAlpha.

Gender equality across board, management and staff leads to stronger, more resilient investments, Herman says.

The gender equality bond “serves the investors, families, foundations, endowments and pensions seeking to support women in the workplace, as innovators, leaders, managers, staff, suppliers, and stakeholders.”

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