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In Fledgling Exchange-Traded Fund, Striking a Blow for Women

State Street Global Advisors will introduce its 159th exchange-traded fund on Tuesday, the SPDR Gender Diversity Index E.T.F...SHE.

The fund's goal is to achieve market-rate returns by investing in United States companies that "are leaders in advancing women through gender diversity on their boards of directors and in management." It will track an index of 125 to 150 stocks that have been culled from the Russell 1000 index and have scored high on a scale of gender metrics.

"It's looking to create a way for investors to put money into companies that have figured out the diversity challenge — that have managed to recruit and retain women in senior leadership positions," said Kristi Mitchem, head of the Americas institutional client group at State Street. "We believe that signal has excess return."

The new fund is part of a wave of so-called impact investments — those made in companies, organizations and funds with the intention of generating a measurable, beneficial social and environmental impact. SHE is built on research from the McKinsey Global Institute; Catalyst, a nonprofit group focused on women's inclusion; and others that have shown the positive impact women have, or could have, on companies when they are in senior leadership.

What remains to be seen is how impact investors and the investing community more generally will receive the new E.T.F...

[Also refers to Barclays, Morgan Stanley]

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