Performance and Portfolio Update
- In the fourth quarter, the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund Institutional share class (PXWIX)1 trailed the MSCI World Index (World Index), which was the first period of quarterly underperformance in the last seven quarters.2
- During the quarter, high beta stocks drove global equity markets. The Fund’s lower risk profile and more defensive positioning, a byproduct of its gender leadership focus, was a headwind to performance given the strong quarterly return of 8.56% for the World Index. Fund holdings in some of the strongest performing sectors lagged their peers and detracted from relative performance.
- An underweight allocation along with specific fund holdings in Information Technology detracted the most from relative return. Holdings Intuit and Texas Instruments performed poorly during the quarter and not owning Apple hurt relative performance versus the MSCI World Index. Apple had strong absolute results during the quarter but does not rank in the top 400 in the world based on gender leadership criteria.
- Health Care and Financials were two other areas of weak relative performance for the Fund during the quarter. In Health Care, the Fund is underweight to the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industries, which performed well during the quarter but possess poor gender leadership profiles relative to other industries. Within Financials, a number of holdings detracted from performance, including Principal Financial, Suncorp Group, and Swedbank.
- Conversely, the Fund’s holdings in Consumer Discretionary added the most to relative return during the period, driven by strong results from Best Buy, Lululemon, and Kering. In addition, underweight allocations and holdings within the Real Estate, Industrials and Energy sectors added to relative return during the quarter.
- From a regional perspective, U.S. and Canadian holdings detracted the most from relative performance. Within Europe and the Pacific regions, Netherlands, Germany and Australia detracted from relative performance.
- Since June 2014, when the Fund adopted a strategic beta strategy, the Fund has outperformed the MSCI World Index. A closer look at performance attribution over this time period, illustrated in the chart below, indicates that the Fund’s overweight to the highest-rated quartile of companies within the World Index based on gender-diverse leadership has made the greatest contribution to the Fund’s relative outperformance, along with the Fund’s significant underweight to the bottom two quartiles of companies with less gender-diverse leadership.
- In November 2019, we completed the annual reconstitution of the Impax Global Women’s Leadership Index (GWLI), which included enhancements to the gender and ESG criteria considered when assessing companies for potential inclusion in the Index.
- New gender criteria used when assessing companies for potential inclusion within GWLI include: hiring, promotion and retention of women; gender pay equity; proactive gender goals and targets; and transparency about gender diversity data. For more information about these criteria enhancements, along with the full list the gender criteria used to rate companies, see our website. These criteria are given different weights, with representation by women on boards and in management still receiving the highest weights.
- The ESG criteria now excludes companies that are significantly involved in the extraction and/or refining of fossil fuels within the Energy3 sector. We believe fossil fuel companies face substantial ESG risks and are not in alignment with the transition to a more sustainable global economy. The Energy sector has historically been a very small weight in the Fund, since it is a laggard relative to other sectors based on our gender diversity criteria. The Fund has divested its small amount of energy companies and re-allocated this weight to other highly-rated gender leadership companies within its investable universe, while maintaining its strong overall gender leadership profile.
Performance(as of 12/31/19)
|Returns (%)||Average Annual Returns (%)|
|1-Month||Quarter||YTD||1 Year||3 Year||5 Year||10 Year||Since Reorg4|
|Pax Ellevate Global Women's Index Fund - Investor Class||2.94||6.49||26.42||26.42||13.34||8.83||8.65||7.00|
|Pax Ellevate Global Women's Index Fund - Institutional Class||2.98||6.59||26.77||26.77||13.62||9.11||8.92||7.14|
|Pax Global Women's Leadership (Net) Index||2.61||7.04||26.62||26.62||13.40||9.60||--|
|MSCI World (Net) Index||3.00||8.56||27.67||27.67||12.57||8.74||9.47|
|Lipper Global Multi-Cap Core Funds Index||3.03||8.32||24.19||24.19||10.74||7.88||8.99|
Performance data quoted represent past performance, which does not guarantee future results. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. To obtain performance for the most recent month-end, call 800.767.1729 or visit paxworld.com
Figures include reinvested dividends, capital gains distributions and changes in principal value.
4Since Reorganization date is 6/4/2014.
Inception of Institutional Class shares is April 19, 2006. The performance information shown for Institutional Class shares represents the performance of the Retail Class shares of the earlier acquired Women’s Equity Fund shares for the period prior to Institutional Class inception. Expenses have not been adjusted to reflect the expenses allocable to Institutional Class shares or to reflect any differences in expenses between the earlier acquired Women’s Equity Fund and the Fund. If such expense adjustments and allocable expenses were reflected, the returns would be higher than those shown. Institutional Class inception date return since April 19, 2006, is 5.45% (annualized).
Total annual Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund operating expenses, gross of any fee waivers or reimbursements, for Institutional Class and Investor Class shares are 0.56% and 0.81% respectively as of the 5/1/2019 prospectus. The management fee is a unified fee that includes all of the operating costs and expenses of the Fund (other than taxes, charges of governmental agencies, interest, brokerage commissions incurred in connection with portfolio transactions, distribution and/or service fees payable under a plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and extraordinary expenses), including accounting expenses, administrator, transfer agent and custodian fees, Fund legal fees and other expenses. (For this purpose, Impax Asset Management LLC does not consider acquired fund fees and expenses to be operating costs and expenses of the Fund.)
Gender Rank Quartiles:
(as of 12/31/19)
Average Weight (%) vs. MSCI World Index
|Since Re-Org (66 Months)
Cumulative Gross Relative Return (%) vs. MSCI World Index
A lower Impax gender rank indicates a higher ranking — 1 is highest and 100 is lowest. Attribution is based on daily gross holdings-based results, which does not include fund expenses, trading costs, etc. The total cumulative gross return for the fund was 63.10% vs. 50.28% for MSCI World. Other not-rated securities and cash were excluded from both charts: Fund weight 4.57% vs. World Index weight: 0.15% and Fund’s gross relative return: -0.52%. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Portfolio Characteristics(as of 12/31/19)
|Market Cap (weighted avg.)∱||$136,250M||$199,776M|
|Number of Securities||412||1,643|
Top 10 Holdings
(as of 12/31/19)
Microsoft Corp. 4.6%, Best Buy Co., Inc. 2.2%, Estee Lauder Cos, Inc., The, Class A 2.2%, Ulta Beauty, Inc. 2.1%, Kellogg Co. 2.1%, Lululemon Athletica, Inc. 2.0%, American Water Works Co., Inc. 2.0%, Wolters Kluwer NV 2.0%, Bank of America Corp. 2.0% and Texas Instruments, Inc. 2.0%. Holdings are subject to change.
1 The minimum investment needed for investment in PXWIX is $250,000.
2 PXWIX vs. MSCI World Index quarterly returns: Q4-19: 6.59% vs. 8.56%. Q3-19: 0.54% vs. 0.53%, Q2-19: 5.01% vs. 4.00%, Q1-19: 12.66% vs. 12.48%, Q4-18: -12.86% vs. -13.42%, Q3-18: 5.61% vs. 4.98%, Q2-18: 2.00% vs. 1.73%
3 The Energy sector is based on Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), a widely recognized industry standard.
ƒWeighted Average is an average in which each quantity to be averaged is assigned a weight. These weightings determine the relative importance of each quantity on the average.
∼Forward Price-Earnings Ratio or P/E FY1 ratio is a ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its per-share earnings over the next 12 months.
∘Return on equity (ROE) is a ratio that provides investors’ insight into how efficiently a company (or, more specifically, its management team) is managing the equity that shareholders have contributed to the company.
∞A historical Beta is used for funds with greater than two years of performance history under the same mandate. 5 Year, Beta is used. Beta reflects the sensitivity of a fund’s return to fluctuations in its benchmark; a beta for a benchmark is 1.00: A beta greater than 1.00 indicates above-average volatility and risk.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author as of the date of this report. All information is historical and not indicative of future results and subject to change. This information is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Past performance does not guarantee future results.