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Diversity used as ‘PR glow’ in the Asset Management Industry?

The UK asset management industry’s top brass, which refers to the managing tiers of these industries assembled together on Monday 18th September 2017. In looking at the typical manager of many business firms, a survey conducted by Mercer found that managers are most likely to be male, white, middle-aged and and heterosexual. Along with this he is likely to be privately educated – further proving how unattainable asset management maybe be for those who fall short of such descriptions.

Following the survey taken, the Diversity Project has been created to campaign and promote diversity based on gender, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientation, age and disability.

As of now less than 22 per cent of investment managers are women. In fact, the investment group, Tilney found that “funds managed or co-managed by women had ticked higher to 9.2 per cent, up from 8.5 per cent last year”.

Following attempts to improve these statistics 53 organisation have signed up to the Diversity Project. Nonetheless, only 24 groups participated in taking the survey which proved the disproportionality within the investment sector. Yet, again this has been widely critiqued as global firms attaching themselves to the diversity Project in order to have a good ‘PR glow’.

However, besides such failings, much efforts are being made within other firms to tackle this issue within the industry. FTfm, M&G Investments, the insurer and Aberdeen Asset Management, the Scottish fund house have began collecting data on gender and ethnic make-up of their staff last month. This shows an awareness and importance some are placing on the study.

Edward Bonham Carter, vice-chairman of Jupiter Fund Management, said “much works needs to be done to improve diversity, including implementing better recruitment policies, and mentoring and development programmes.”

He went on to mention that “active fund management is all about independent and original thought, so it in the interests of our client, employees and shareholders for us to promote diversity”.

Parts of the reports generated by FTfm states that hedge funds run by women have generated returns two times higher than their male counterparts in 2017. It is also to be recognised that this strong performance has occurred despite the under-representation of women within the asset management industry.

Yet with a rapidly growing sense of awareness and evidence backing the necessity of diversity within the industry one can only hope that the future will be much brighter