Fidelity Investments offers a suite of ETFs covering a variety of investment styles and approaches. One strategy that may intrigue investors applies a specialized screen to firms. The Fidelity Women’s Leadership ETF (FDWM) actively invests in firms that prioritize and advance women’s leadership and development. Returning 12.7% YTD and 8.7% over one year, FDWM holds women-led firms like CDW Corp (CDW), currently piloted by CEO Christine Leahy.
Fidelity brings its “boots on the ground” approach to screening firms in FDWM, eyeing firms that lean heavily on women leaders like CDW. It also considers those firms’ earnings growth and their business models, looking for solid competitive positions.
Why might FDWM look to a firm like CDW and a CEO like Leahy? Since Leahy’s appointment as CEO in January 2019, CDW has significantly outperformed the S&P 500 Index overall. CDW has returned 170% since January 2019, compared to the S&P 500 returning 80.7% in that time.
The firm, which produces desktops, servers, software, and other tech tools, derives roughly half of its revenue from mid and large sized businesses. Focusing mostly on education and government clients, CDW has produced 9.9% revenue growth over five years. It also offers a 21.6 forward p/e ratio. Under her guidance, the firm has continued to invest in AI and data analytics tools that can boost their existing hardware and software offerings.
Leahy, recently unanimously appointed as board chair for CDW, has held a variety of leadership roles at CDW since joining in 2002. Under her tenure, net sales grew from $16 billion to about $24 billion in the trailing twelve months that ended on September 30th, 2022. Leahy has served as chief revenue officer as well as senior vice president, international. She has also worked as the firm’s chief legal officer / general counsel.
A graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School, she also holds positions on the board of directors for Target Corporation, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Junior Achievement of Chicago.
FDWM charges a 59 basis point fee and will reach its three year mark next year. For investors looking to invest in women-led firms driven by leaders like Leahy, FDWM may be one strategy to watch.
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