We at Asia Asset Management are keen advocates of sustainable investing. We have been including environmental, social and governance questions in our annual Fund Management Survey since 2016. We regularly report on ESG to encourage greater awareness across the asset management industry. And it’s appropriate to consider diversity and inclusion as an aspect of the ‘S’ in ESG.
Research has shown that companies which are more diverse are more productive, deliver higher performance and achieve better results. Most asset managers now include information on their approach to diversity and inclusion on their websites, indicating some awareness of its importance. But they need to do much more to ensure it isn’t just another box-ticking marketing exercise.
In the UK, organisations such as City Hive, Girls Are Investors, and The Diversity Project are working hard to raise awareness about the importance of diversity and inclusion within the investment management industry. They are passionate about transforming the industry and creating solutions that focus on impactful change with tangible results that pay dividends.
We are starting to see some progress but there is still some way to go. There’s no doubt that more needs to be done to ensure that the people who make up the industry reflect the diversity of our global society. Gender equality and the gender pay gap are key issues. Also high on the agenda are issues related to ethnicity, educational and social background, sexual orientation, religion and age.
And more emphasis needs to be placed on the training and development of minority candidates for board roles. Progress has to start from the top down. Without ensuring access to the highest levels of the industry for women and other minority candidates, efforts to draw them into the industry may be counterintuitive.
City Hive CEO Bev Shah, a British-Indian mother of two with more than 15 years of experience at some of the world’s largest financial institutions, founded the organisation to ‘be the change she wanted to see in the world.’ That change can only happen by focusing on attracting a more diverse workforce and cultivating talent at all career stages.