Canada’s first gender diversity ETF is closing
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Canada’s first gender diversity ETF is closing

Toronto-based Evolve Funds Group is closing three of its niche ETFs focused on gender diversity and marijuana stocks.

The firm said Monday that it will terminate the Evolve North American Gender Diversity Index Fund, the Evolve Marijuana Fund and the Evolve U.S. Marijuana ETF around March 30.

Raj Lala, Evolve’s president and CEO, said the gender diversity fund didn’t see the inflows he anticipated when the product launched in 2017 as the first of its kind in Canada. Using a gender-ranking methodology, the fund tracked the 150 North American companies most focused on gender equality and workplace inclusion.

“While there is clear commitment to make strides in gender diversity across the investment industry, the market does not appear to correlate gender diversity commitments and achievements with financial performance,” Lala said in an emailed statement.

As of Friday, the fund had $4.3 million in assets under management, a spokesperson said.

Speaking at an International Women’s Day event last year, Lala said he was disappointed with investors’ response to the fund. Despite outperforming its benchmark in 2018, Lala said investors viewed the fund as a statement investment rather than a factor-based investment.

Evolve’s marijuana ETF launched in February 2018, followed just over a year later by the U.S. version. Marijuana stocks have struggled since recreational use was legalized in Canada in October 2018.

Evolve will ask the Toronto Stock Exchange, where the gender diversity and marijuana funds are listed, and the Neo Exchange, where the U.S. marijuana fund trades, to de-list the funds around March 26, a release said. The firm will stop accepting new subscriptions to the funds on Feb. 26.

SOURCE : INVESTMENT EXECUTIVE

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