EBCs back diversity initiative

DiversityEBCs and investment and savings industry institutions are coming together to launch a project aimed at solving poor levels of industry diversity.

The Diversity Project will target the lack of diversity in investment and savings firms, aiming to tackle gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, degree discipline, sexual orientation, age and disability.
Willis Towers Watson’s Jane Welsh and Mercer’s Sinead Clark will be members of the Diversity Project’s steering group, which also includes Allianz Global Investors head of institutional for Europe, Irshaad Ahmad, PLSA chair Lesley Williams and Carmignac Gestion managing director Maxime Carmignac. The group is chaired by Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management, founder of the 30% Club and Investment Association chair.

Working with senior business leaders such as CEOs and chairs, the project will launch schemes aimed at ensuring diverse recruitment, in a bid to help diverse talent to rise to top roles within firms. The body will also facilitate the sharing of best practice and the development of new collaborative initiatives.

The group says the launch marks a recognition that current diversity levels are unacceptably low. A recent research project noted that only 1,562 of the 15,229 active managers tracked globally are female. In the UK just 9 per cent of fund managers are women and the assets they manage represent just 6.4 per cent of industry totals.
The Diversity Project will also collaborate with existing initiatives such as Investment2020, which opens routes into the industry for trainees from broad socio-economic backgrounds and the 30% Club.
PLSA chair Lesley Williams says: “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. That means supporting the next generation of leaders to create a diverse industry that reflects the society it serves.”

Investment Association chair Helena Morrissey says: “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.”