‘Once and For All’: Asset Managers Take on Diversity

The Investment Association and other leading industry representatives want to harmonize national efforts to improve diversity in asset management.

The UK’s asset management trade body is to lead an effort to solve the industry’s diversity problem “once and for all.”

In a statement released yesterday, the Investment Association (IA) announced the launch of the Diversity Project, chaired by the IA’s chair and CEO of Newton Investment Management, Helena Morrissey.

“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,” Morrissey said.

The project’s founding members include asset manager representatives Irshaad Ahmad, Allianz Global Investors’ head of institutional for Europe, and Carmignac Gestion’s Maxime Carmignac, managing director of the UK office. Lesley Williams, chair of the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, and consultants Jane Welsh (Willis Towers Watson) and Sinead Clark (Mercer) make up the steering group for the project.

“If we are to effectively meet the challenges the pensions and lifetime savings industry faces and above all deliver for savers, we need to harness all our talents,” Williams said. “That means supporting the next generation of leaders to create a diverse industry that reflects the society it serves.”

The Diversity Project’s team plans to collaborate with other similar initiatives such as Investment2020—which aims to improve recruitment from a wide range of backgrounds—and the 30% Club, which Morrissey founded in 2010 to boost female roles on company boards. 

CIO research suggests female representation has improved at the largest public pensions and endowments in the US. Data collated for the forthcoming June issue show 32.7% of roles at endowments are held by women, compared to 30.6% two years ago. Public pensions’ female representation has improved from 12% to 18% in the same period.

Related: The Missing Women of Asset Management