Desjardins Securities launches new PDG Portfolios: An innovation that emphasizes both the presence of women in leadership positions and the respect of good governance practices



    These new investment portfolios are supported by the correlation
    established between stock exchange listed companies' financial results
    and the presence of women in leadership positions

    MONTREAL, Nov. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Guylaine Raby, Vice-President and
Assistant Portfolio Manager at Desjardins Securities and her team are
innovating with the launch of three new portfolios that link financial
performance with corporate values that favor the presence of women in high
executive positions at publicly traded companies, as well as the adoption of
corporate governance best practices.
    "The presence of women in executive positions and good corporate
governance practices are two elements that favor better financial and stock
performance for publicly traded companies. The new PDG portfolios take into
consideration these success factors, providing investors with an investment
vehicle that is focused on achieving high performance targets and is unique to
the Canadian market. In other words, investing in companies which have adopted
good governance practices and which have given women key roles within their
organizations, is a winning strategy," said Ms. Raby.
    PDG Portfolios, named for financial Performance, Diversity (presence of
women on the board or in high executive positions within companies) and
Governance, are made up of S&P/TSX Canadian securities, which are selected and
recommended by Desjardins Securities' Research and Quantitative Analysis
Service. These values were developed in partnership with the governance and
Chair of Governance and Forensic Accounting at HEC Montréal.
    The composition of these portfolios is backed by a series of studies
which indicate that companies with women in decision-making positions generate
higher financial returns. A recent study carried out by a HEC Montréal
research group showed that these companies' returns were 6% above the average
between 2001 and 2004(1).
    Mr. Yves Néron, Senior Vice-President and head of Private Client Services
at Desjardins Securities said: "PDG Portfolios are exactly in line with the
Mouvement Desjardins' deepest values, which put diversity and governance at
the heart of its priorities and its development plan. Investing in PDG
Portfolios is good for the quality of governance of publicly traded companies,
and good for women in the business world."

    Three portfolios

    PDG Portfolios offer three choices, PDG Conservative, PDG Balanced and
PDG Growth, which are designed to suit investors' varying levels of risk
tolerance. The stocks selected for each portfolio category are from companies
whose high executive or board of directors include at least one woman. The
quality of governance is evaluated according to 22 criteria covering four
aspects: composition of the board of directors, executive or board member
compensation and stock ownership, shareholder rights and information
disclosure.
    The very competitive management fees are 1.65% for the PDG Conservative
portfolio, 1.75% for the PDG Balanced portfolio and 1.95% for the PDG Growth
portfolio.

    About Desjardins Securities

    Desjardins Securities is a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the largest
cooperative financial group in Canada. It offers a full range of securities
brokerage products and services through its Investment Advisors, and online
brokerage services through its Disnat online division. The needs of businesses
and government agencies are covered by its Corporate Financing, Fixed Income,
and Equity Capital Markets departments, solidly backed by its Research
department. The company, which manages $18 billion in assets, has 43
full-service brokerage offices and employs more than 1,200 people, including
306 Investment Advisors throughout Quebec and Ontario.

    
    ---------------
    (1) Source : HEC Montréal - Gender Diversity in Corporate Governance and
        Top Management and Financial Performance, 2006, p. 20.
    




For further information:

For further information: Frédéric Bérard, HKDP Communications and Public
Affairs, (514) 395-0375, ext. 230; Source: Desjardins Securities

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