Dear Investment Banker

Dear Investment Banker,

If you knew the secret of one more condition to set for your pre-IPO client that could lead to financial success for the client, would you advise on it?

Your clients hope so.

So I am going to let the cat out of the bag.

Look at each client's board of directors. Is it diverse?

Diverse boards make better decisions. Specifically, compelling evidence supports a strong correlation between gender diverse boards and company financial strength. (Catalyst, Deloitte, Credit Suisse, McKinsey, Committee for Economic Development, among others.)

How many women are on each board of the companies you are taking public?

Did you know that if there are no women on the board, a company may likely suffer reputational risk immediately after the IPO? In the past -- you may have heard something about this... negative public reaction even caused one company's servers to shut down.

But let's talk money. Shifting from reputational risk to financial performance, according to Catalyst, companies with three or more women on their boards have a 46 percent higher return on equity, a 60 percent higher return on invested capital, and an 84 percent higher return on sales. These wide spreads point to pre-IPO as the key time to build a gender diverse board, not after, and certainly not never.

You may say, "Ah, but this is only a correlation, not a causal relationship." And, perhaps you may be right. But earnings per share, profitability, EBITDA, and other financial metrics present only correlations as well.

Boards that are diverse reveal a readiness to compete in the 21st Century. Rather than "pale, male, and stale," a diverse board suggests an innovative and forward-thinking company ready to meet the challenges of 2015 and beyond.

Many companies already have diverse boards. As the CEO of a large-cap public company recently told me, "How could we not have a diverse board in this day and age? It's good business."

Could that client be yours?

I hope so.

Best regards,
Eve

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