Invest in stocks says tennis legend

By Hugo Greenhalgh | Published: 2:00 AM Apr 16 2021
Columns Invest in stocks says tennis legend

By Hugo Greenhalgh

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova and the first openly gay US Congressman Barney Frank have backed a new LGBT+ investment vehicle, as investors flock to ethically responsible funds.

The two gay icons are on the board of LGBTQ Loyalty Holdings, a financial methodology and media company that launched the LGBTQ100 ESG Index in 2019 to enable investment in top corporations that seek to advance LGBT+ equality.

The index is the first to include data from the LGBT+ community to construct a benchmark of the 100 companies most committed to equality out of the 500 largest US firms.

As an ESG index, it also tracks the performance of companies with strong environmental, social and governance ratings, which are becoming increasingly popular.

“I’ve dedicated my life to advancing equality,” nine-times Wimbledon singles champion Navratilova, said in a statement announcing the launch on 18 May of the LGBTQ+ ESG100 ETF on the US stock exchange Nasdaq.

“Our belief in companies that align with those virtues is unwavering,” said Navratilova, one of the first high-profile athletes to come out in 1981.

ETFs - or exchange-traded funds - seek to track the performance of a particular index and are often favoured because they have a low investment threshold, are easy to trade and offer a diverse range of investments.

Ethical investment is on the rise as COVID-19 has worsened global inequality and thrown millions into extreme poverty, while protests over racism and the climate crisis have shown a strong desire for change among millions of ordinary people.

Covering everything from how a company handles global warming to boardroom diversity, firms with a good ESG score saw strong demand in a turbulent 2020.

Total assets in sustainable funds hit a record of nearly $1.7 trillion at the end of 2020, industry tracker Morningstar reported, helped by a global push to transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Sometimes working for justice requires sacrifice,” said Frank, who as a state legislator filed Massachusetts’ first gay rights bills in 1972.

“But investing in a well-constructed ETF that advances important values is a chance to do well while doing good.”

The LGBTQ100 ESG Index has outperformed the S&P 500, which measures the performance of the 500 largest US companies, by more than five per cent since its launch in 2019, LGBTQ Loyalty Holdings said. 

(Thomson Reuters Foundation)

By Hugo Greenhalgh | Published: 2:00 AM Apr 16 2021

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