Frequently Ask Questions
The following provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the Workplace Equality Index® . If you are unable to find the answer to your question please contact us.
What is the Workplace Equality Index (EQLT)?
The Workplace Equality Index® is a stock index that includes many of America’s leading equality-minded corporations.
This unique index, which is listed under the Bloomberg symbol LGBTEQLT, represents publicly-traded shares of the corporations doing business in the United States whose progressive workplace policies treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals equally, fairly and respectfully with all employees. The Index was created by Denver Investments at the request of its clients and has an inception date of 2001.
Denver Investments offers a broad spectrum of investment capabilities to meet the needs of its clients. These capabilities include more than 15 years’ experience managing portfolios for foundations and individuals that choose to allocate investments in corporate bonds or equities of companies that support the LGBT community.
Who is Denver Investments?
Denver Investments is a 100% employee-owned investment management firm that believes independent, fundamental research is the key driver of investment success for its clients.
Founded in 1958, Denver Investments includes over 40 investment professionals with extensive experience in the industry. Based in Denver, Colorado, the firm serves a diverse range of institutional and individual investors.
Learn more about Denver Investments at www.denvest.com.
Why was the Workplace Equality Index created? Why did Denver Investments expand its expertise in socially screening investment portfolios?
For years, Denver Investments has been well versed in socially screening portfolios to address each client’s specific objectives, such as designing customized portfolios tailored exclusively for environmentally-conscious clients.
In 1998, we were approached by the socially progressive trustees of the Minnesota-based Kevin J. Mossier Foundation to advise and manage their investable assets. The late Kevin Mossier was an openly gay and visionary travel entrepreneur who founded and operated one of the nation’s earliest and most successful gay travel companies, RSVP Vacations. The Foundation was established to fulfill Kevin’s vision to advance the cause of LGBT equality and human rights.
Fifteen years ago, however, there were few if any resources for this specialized social screening and few resources to evaluate corporate policies and practices that supported workplace equality and inclusion for the LGBT community. Therefore, to meet the needs of the Mossier Foundation, Denver Investments conducted independent research to establish our own screens to select stocks and bonds from corporations that are supportive of workplace equality and fairness.
Our screens, for instance, specifically confirmed that the companies whose securities we held, supported their own LGBT employees by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and also offered equal benefits for same-sex domestic partners. The Mossier Foundation and other investors encouraged us and even more important, cheered our initiative in promoting these equality principles to companies as an incentive to grow investor participation. In fact, after beginning our screens, some corporations actually changed their EEO policies in response to our questions.
What are the criteria today that make a corporation’s shares eligible for inclusion in the Workplace Equality Index?
We generally screen for publicly-traded stocks that are larger than $250 million in market capitalization. The screening criteria generally include requiring language in the company’s EEO statement prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, offering benefits to partners of employees, along with other benefits for LGBT employees and their spouses or partners. In addition, we perform other screens with the goal of eliminating companies that would detract from the Index such as companies in bankruptcy or reorganization. We also screen for daily liquidity, as the Workplace Equality Index™ is designed to be a tradable index.
What companies today are eligible to be included in the Workplace Equality Index?
As of January 1, 2014, there were 167 companies that qualify for inclusion in the Workplace Equality Index®.
If Denver Investments was a publicly-traded corporation, would its policies make it eligible to be included in the Workplace Equality Index?
We believe our business practices and policies that support our LGBT employees would make us eligible for inclusion in the Workplace Equality Index®.
What, if any, is the association between a corporation’s gay-friendly policies and its market performance?
We make no claims about the direct or indirect relationship between a corporation’s gay-inclusive and welcoming policies and its market performance.
We do know, however, that many institutional and individual investors also identify as citizen-activists and advocates who believe that part or all of their investment strategy should be directed towards corporations and business practices that are well known to be progressive, fair-minded and that support equality.
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