Pax World Funds President Joseph Keefe argues that investing in women-led companies can create attractive returns. Retail investors can also gain access to companies with women in top-tier leadership roles through a recently launched exchange traded note.

The Barclays Women in Leadership ETN (NYSEArca: WIL), which debuted last month, is the newest addition to the lineup of investment products that focus on companies with women in important leadership roles. Since its July 10 launch, WIL has attracted $25.3 million in assets under management. [Women Lead This ETN’s Holdings]

WIL tracks the Barclays Women in Leadership Total Return USD Index, which only includes companeis that either feature a female chief executive officer or have a corporate board this comprised of at least 25% women.

“There is a lot of interest in gender diversity, women in business leadership, women investors,” said Keefe, president and chief executive of Pax World Funds and Pax World Management, in an InvestmentNews article. “There is more and more focus on women and wealth.”

In June, former Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) Sallie Krawcheck helped launched the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund – co-branded with the Ellevate professional women’s network.

“The substantial body of research suggests where women are better represented in corporate leadership — on the board or in management — those companies tend to perform better,” Keefe added. “That is the advantage that gender diversity brings. The fact that diverse groups make better decisions than non-diverse groups over time will play out.”

A recent study has found that organizations with greater gender diversity in leadership roles show better financial performance, according to Development Dimensions International. Specifically, DDI found that among leaders in the top 20% organizations, about 37% of all leaders are women, whereas the bottom 20% organizations show 19% of all leaders are women. [Women in ETFs Inspire the Next Generation of Leaders]

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