NAB gender equality bond raises $500m

A new bond issued by NAB, the proceeds of which will provide funding to businesses that champion gender equality, has received $500 million from foreign and domestic investors.

The NAB Social Bond (Gender Equality) will provide financing and re-financing to businesses already funded by the bank, which are listed as an employer of choice for gender equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and “primary activities don’t involve alcohol, gambling, tobacco, military weapons, predatory lending, fossil fuels, palm oil, transport of live cattle or whaling”, the bank said.

NAB acting chief customer officer corporate and institutional banking Cathryn Carver said the bond was designed to meet the demands of investors who “increasingly want choices and options to act on social issues”.

“There are proven links between diversity and better business profits that can’t be ignored,” she said.

“This bond creates a new pathway for big investors to back the workplaces that are taking a leadership role to support women and equality.”

One of the institutional investors who purchased the bonds, Aberdeen Asset Management, said the bonds were a way of accessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) conscious investing “without compromising portfolio yield”.

“As fixed income investors, when we see a mix of good bond structure and pricing, and a genuine goal to improve the workplace for women, we regard that as a great investment opportunity for our portfolios and ultimately, our clients,” said Aberdeen Asset Management head of Australian fixed income Nick Bishop.

“The ‘S’ of ESG is often the poorer cousin to the ‘E’ and ‘G’, so it’s nice to see the balance redressed.”

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