Asset managers join forces to tackle diversity issues in industry

A group of some of Europe’s largest asset managers have joined forces to launch a new project aimed at solving poor levels of industry diversity.

Companies including Aberdeen Asset Management, Schroders and Allianz Global Investors have got together in an attempt to address accusations that the asset management market protects the interests of white, middle-aged men and has underrepresented women for too long.

As reported, last week fewer than one in ten of the funds in the Investment Association’s vast funds database are managed or co-managed by a woman, resulting in a “gross gender imbalance” across the industry, according to UK investment group Tilney Bestinvest.

In its fourth annual analysis of the UK and global retail investment funds universe that are managed out of the UK,  Tilney Bestinvest has found that only around 8.5% of fund managers or co-managers are women.

A statement on the Investment Association website said that the group, dubbed The Diversity Project, will target diversity in its broadest sense for investment and savings firms, aiming to tackle gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, degree discipline, sexual orientation, age and disability.

Investment Association chairperson, Helena Morrissey (pictured), said: “It’s time for the investment and savings industries to seek diversity in its broadest sense to ensure the industry has the cognitive and experiential diversity needed to be modern, to represent society and to make effective decisions.”

Diverse recruitment

Working with senior business leaders, the project will launch schemes aimed at ensuring diverse recruitment, helping diverse talent to rise to top roles within firms, the sharing of best practice and the development of new collaborative initiatives.

Its founding membership includes firms that cover the entire investment, pensions and savings industry value chain as well as involving professional service firms and trade associations.

The project will be led by a senior-level steering group that includes Allianz Global Investors’ head of institutional for Europe, Irshaad Ahmad, PLSA chairperson, Lesley Williams and Carmignac Gestion managing director, Maxime Carmignac.

Morrissey, who is also chief executive of Newton Investment Management, will chair the group.

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