Barbara Byrne
Vice Chairman, Investment Banking, Barclays

Barbara Byrne is giving the term "portfolio diversification" a whole new meaning.

On July 10, Byrne rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange to herald the launch of exchange-traded notes representing 85 U.S. companies with a female CEO or at least 25% female members on the board.

The ETNs track the Barclays "Women in Leadership" total return index and are designed to provide investors with exposure to U.S. companies with gender-diverse executive leadership and governance.

"This is an index that will appeal to pension funds, endowments, and other institutions looking for diversity in their portfolios," says Byrne.

She supervised the introduction of the new index family and ETN program. The initiative is part of the three-year old Barclays Social Innovation Facility, which Byrne chairs.

"We are seeing more women CEOs today but the total numbers are still extremely small," she says.

For instance, whereas the goal is to have 100 NYSE- or NASDAQ-listed companies represented as part of the new weighted index, so far only 85 firms — including General Motors, IBM, PepsiCo and General Electric — meet the criteria. Her hope is to "move the needle and promote more diversity," she says.

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