Proceeds from National Australia Bank’s (NAB) social bond promoting workplace gender equality are going to the re-financing of Australian businesses that are championing women in the workforce, after attracting investors from across Europe and Asia.
Super funds and groups from the UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea have backed NAB’s call for workplace equality and purchased the five-year bond.
NAB head of group funding, Eva Zileli, said investors had responded well to the offering, which promoted the selection of organisations that were proactive in social responsibility.
“Investors increasingly want choices and options to act on social issues and we are finding ways to make that happen,” she said.
“Successfully launching this bond is a critical step forward in building a market for socially responsible investments, and in elevating gender equality as a business imperative.”
Zileli said the bond had equal credit quality with other senior unsecured bonds issued by NAB, and the fixed rate bond priced at semi quarterly asset swap, plus 95 basis points, yielded 3.445 per cent.
NAB acting chief customer officer corporate and institutional banking, Cathryn Carver, said both banks and investors needed to recognise and promote socially-responsible assets as concerns around workplace gender inequality continued to rise.
“Investors have told us that this bond is a real validation of the concept of gender equality,” she said.
“There are proven links between diversity and better business profits that can’t be ignored.
“This bond creates a new pathway for big investors to back the workplaces that are taking a leadership role to support women and equality.”