The Women’s Equity Mutual Fund is a socially responsible investing (SRI) offering that was launched in 1993 with a focus on companies reported to treat women well. Walden Asset Management provides research for the fund, screening for such issues as the percentage of women in senior management positions and on boards of directors, according to a SocialFunds.com article. In addition to positive screens for women’s issues, racial diversity, and environmental sustainability, the fund also employs negative screens that exclude companies that produce tobacco, alcohol, or weapons
The fund has begun to invest in microfinance, a style that supports the fund’s focus on women by providing microloans almost exclusively to business women in developing nations. One of the fund’s co-founders, Linda Pei, was led to a product of Blue Orchard Finance: “…the first ever securitized product based on loans to microfinance institutions,” The Women’s Equity Mutual Fund has invested $500,000 in the product offering, known as Blue Orchard Microfinance Securities I, which is expected to earn 4.936 % over a seven-year term, according to the article.
Blue Orchard Finance is a Swiss company providing management of investment funds dedicated to the microfinance industry.