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Industry unites to solve diversity levels ‘once and for all’

A group of the investment and savings industries’ biggest institutions has come together to launch a new project aimed at solving poor levels of industry diversity once and for all.

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.

Working with senior business leaders such as CEOs and Chairs, 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 Chair, Lesley Williams, Senior Investment Consultants, Jane Welsh from Willis Towers Watson and Sinead Clark from Mercer, along with 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.

It comes amid widespread agreement on the benefits of greater diversity within the investment and savings professions, and also a recognition that current diversity levels are unacceptably low.

Looking at gender diversity as one aspect surveyed, a recent Citywire research project noted that only 1,562 of the 15,229 active managers tracked globally are female.

In the UK just 9% of fund managers are women and the assets they manage represent just 6.4% of industry totals.

The Diversity Project will also collaborate with existing initiatives that have already delivered significant change for the industry such as Investment2020, which opens routes into the industry for trainees from broad socio-economic backgrounds and the 30% Club.

PLSA Chair, Lesley Williams, said:

“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, 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.”

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