There is extensive research showing that organisations directly benefit from diversity in a range of ways; diversity of thought, improved decision making, new innovation and better financial performance. Yet the data around organisational diversity is not at desired levels.
Three years ago, the FSC Diversity Working Group (Diversity WG) was established, supported by a proactive group of FSC fund manager members focused on diversity issues the funds management industry. Following a review of a broad range of diversity issues papers, including funds management related diversity reports, the Diversity Working Group identified gender diversity in investment management as the first area of focus.
There is a clear understanding that diversity, and the benefits of diversity, are much broader than gender, however there is a recognition that women are under-represented in asset management roles.
Last year we surveyed our domestic and global fund manager members on gender diversity in their investment management teams, which showed that women on average make up 25% of investment teams. There is a desire to encourage more women to choose funds management as a career path and to grow the number of women in investment management teams.
We have a targeted focus on increasing female representation in asset management, as our initial area of focus, and the aim is that it will assist with achieving clear outcomes. In due course we would like to broaden out our focus.
We have developed a number of resources which organisations can use:
- A Gender Diversity Resources Library which provides organisations with access to a great range of resources on gender diversity – that includes resources focused on where the challenges are coming from, what the benefits are, what can be done to improve gender diversity outcomes, as well as a link to initiatives in this space that fund managers can connect with;
- Guidance Note 38 – Improving Gender Diversity in Asset Management Teams (GN 38) which provides practical guidance and approaches that an organisation can use to assist improving gender diversity in asset management teams. The Guidance Note covers a rang of areas such as recruitment and talent management, the value of sponsorship to help elevate staff within businesses and the inclusion of case studies which showcase practical tips that firms have adopted and found useful;
- Women in Investment Management Charter (WIM Charter) see here for more info – which provides organisations with a framework for introducing accountability and transparency mechanisms to enable organisations to achieve their desired, self-nominated, gender diversity target within their investment management teams. The framework for the WIM Charter is based on HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter (UK Charter), a pledge aimed at improving the gender balance across financial services in the United Kingdom which has seen very positive steps forward in the number of women on boards and executive committees over the last 5 years - increasing from 16% in 2016 to 22% on average in 2021.
In addition to the resources, we have just issued our second Diversity Survey to our domestic and global fund manager members to understand how member organisations are approaching diversity and gender diversity in investment management teams.
The Diversity Working Group continues to meet regularly and identify further initiatives to focus on that will assist organisations with their aims.
Having personally driven these initiatives with members and reflecting on what we have already achieved in the last three years, I am proud of the fund manager members and the great resources we have developed to support businesses on the gender diversity journey. Fund manager members have dedicated extensive time and commitment to developing these.
I would like to acknowledge and give thanks to all the fund manager members who have participated on the Diversity Working Group thus far, as well as present and former Co-Chairs of the Diversity Working Group including – Jodie Hampshire, Jonathan Armitage and Jen Driscoll.
We have dedicated people, with rich and diverse experience, on the Diversity Working Group who dedicate their time to help drive positive change in funds management and I look forward to sharing more updates in the future as we continue our focus in this space.
On a personal note, as a mother of a four-year-old girl, it gives me great optimism and hope for her future as the gender gap is bridged, whether it be in asset management or in the many other great gender initiatives that are taking place more broadly.
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