Podcasts

Investing in Gender Parity

Episode 29: Investing in Gender Parity
Guest: Eve Ellis

Welcome back! I hope you’re still enjoying some nice, warm weather – wherever you may be. I am excited for this week’s episode of Women Rocking Wall Street because I have the pleasure of speaking with Eve Ellis, Financial Advisor with The Matterhorn Group at Morgan Stanley.

Competitive by nature, Eve started her career as a professional tennis player. Having served her well on the court, she now uses her competitive drive to help her clients prepare for their individual financial goals. In addition to supporting men, women and nonprofits, Eve is also the portfolio manager for The Parity Portfolio, a capital investment strategy that only buys into companies that has a minimum of three women on their boards.

According to Eve, gender parity on S&P 500 company boards are minimal and the progress is slow. Over the past two and a half years, the number has only increased by 2.3%. Although Eve is working to change that, she is also benefiting her clients. Research indicates that corporate boards that have three or more women have a 46% higher return on equity, 60% higher return on invested capital and 80% higher return on sales.

If you’re a woman struggling to make your way in your industry, Eve recommends that you speak up with authority and remind yourself that men should just “move over.” We have a responsibility to bring along other women, be supportive and educate others about this issue. Together, we can create gender parity.

If you’re a longtime listener of Women Rocking Wall Street, you’ve heard me mention the 30 Percent Coalition (of which Eve is a member of). If you’re new to the podcast, you can learn more about this initiative by listening to these past related podcast episodes: “What’s Behind Your Investments,” “Let’s Get to 30%,” and “The Getting Along Paradigm”. To learn more about Eve, you can find her on LinkedIn.

Be sure to share this podcast with your friends and colleagues. Also, head over to iTunes and write a quick review if you liked what you heard today. Increased reviews help move the podcast to an even more visible place in the iTunes world. (More visible, more listeners. More listeners, more difference!)

What’s Behind Your Investments

Episode 25: What’s Behind Your Investments?
Guest: Tim Smith

What an exciting episode! This week, I’m pleased to invite my second male guest to Women Rocking Wall Street. Tim Smith is co-chair of the investor committee for the 30 Percent Coalition, which may sound familiar to those who have been listening to the podcast for a while. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing several people from this coalition, which strives for women to hold 30% of board seats across public companies. (Check out the related podcast episodes: “Let’s Get to 30%” and “The Getting Along Paradigm”).

Tim is here today to share some ways the 30 Percent Coalition has rallied to increase the number of women on boards. He’ll also provide tips for how investors can ensure their votes are counted on issues such as board diversity, climate change and equal employment opportunity.

Last year, the 30 Percent Coalition wrote letters to 160-plus companies in the Russell 1000 list who had no women on their boards. The coalition sought to remind these companies that investors are concerned about a lack of diversity. Some companies that took no action actually received shareholder resolutions from various investors requesting that they take steps to diversify. Clearly this is an issue near and dear to investors, and companies must get on board about diversifying their boards.

Those who want to learn more about the story behind their funds can start by researching online or reading proxy statements, Tim suggests. I also want to mention the site unloadyour401k.com, which can show whether your 401(k) plan is invested in public gun companies.

So what happens if you don’t like what you find? If you’re part of a 401(k) and have no control over the investments in the plan, there are still ways to voice your opinion about certain funds. Tim suggests gathering a group of participants to write a letter to the company saying something like, “We understand that you don’t vote on board diversity, and we’re calling on you to change this.” It may feel like a helpless exercise, but Tim says companies are increasingly listening to their consumers.

For more information about having your voice heard, check out The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. You can also read more on the 30 Percent Coalition site, which includes a letter from the group.

Be certain to share this podcasts with your friends and colleagues — AND perhaps even recent college graduates.

And, please head over to iTunes and offer up a quick review. Increased reviews help move the podcast to an even more visible place in the iTunes world. (More visible, more listeners. More listeners, more difference!)