Investing in humans

Some French boutiques play human communities as a theme in their funds.

Are you happy at work ? The answer is relevant for French boutique Sycomore Asset Management, having recentlylaunched an equity fund based on worker satisfaction, Sycomore Happy@Work.

A few other managers in France play the human theme,sometimes going as far as investing in personal identity.

Conseil Plus Gestion (CPG) has been running an alternative fund Valeurs Féminines since 2005, with €16.6m of AUM as at June 2015. The manager only invests in businesses either managed by women – 58% in the fund as at June 2015 – or where women have a significant weight within their boards.

Sectors providing goods to women such as cosmetics, luxury goods, foods, or textiles form a second scope.


Another example remains Turgot Asset Management, the first asset manager in Europe to launch a gay themed fund in February 2013.

The Rainbow fund’s portfolio comprises 40 companies providing goods or services to the homosexual population “in a clearly identifiable manner” and which have implemented anti-discriminatory standards, “particularly with regard to the homosexual population.”

“The idea of launching this gay thematic fund comes from an IFA we are working with, who happened to be homosexual,” explains Sandrine Cauvin (pictured), manager of the Rainbow fund at Turgot AM.

When the Rainbow fund was launched, Turgot AM faced criticism. The manager was charged with opportunism since the country was debating the legality of gay marriage.

“Some said our fund was discriminating for gays. But if ageing funds focus on old people, why couldn’t we focus on gays?” Cauvin argues.

The fund is invested at least at 60% in global equities. EM equities as well as small-mid caps would account for 20% maximum.

“Firms we invest in have an equitable approach towards their employees, whatever their sexual preference.

“For instance, they allow the same number of days for maternity or paternity leave for heterosexuals and homosexuals.”

All companies have signed a gay friendly charter. Cauvin adds that she can only base a company’s review on their official communication about the policy they have implemented after signing the charter. She does not have feedback from staff representatives.

If the stock selection process includes mainly big companies, start-ups are also favoured “because they evolve in an open-minded environment, like biotech ones.

Obviously, performance remains a key factor in the stock selection process.

“Hermes does not necessary propose an offer targeting the gay community, but we have it in the fund as the firm is one of the best performers in its sector.”

Adrien Paredes-Vanheule
Adrien Paredes-Vanheule is French-Speaking Europe Correspondent for InvestmentEurope, covering France, Belgium, Geneva and Monaco. Prior to joining InvestmentEurope, he spent almost five years writing for various publications in Monaco, primarily as a criminal and financial court reporter. Before that, he worked for newspapers and radio stations in France, in particular in Lyon.

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