Diversity and inclusion in investment management

Time to get serious: If diversity is a business imperative, treat it like one

Gender pay reporting has brought the lack of diversity within the investment management industry into sharp focus and added weight to the voices calling for faster change. Yet there is little evidence of progress. Of the five sectors reporting the biggest gender pay gaps in 2018, only investment management failed to record an overall improvement. This raises questions about whether the industry is really taking the issue seriously.

With an increasing threat of disruption across multiple fronts, the business case for a genuinely inclusive, more diverse investment industry has never been stronger. As the sector comes under the spotlight, it faces mounting commercial, regulatory and reputational risks if the issue is not prioritised.

The evidence suggests that in most firms, attention and intention still aren’t translating into concerted, decisive action and results. Diversity and inclusion are often still being treated as second order priorities and, for some, a tick-box exercise. Others are genuinely committed to improvement, but are unsure how to achieve real results. 

Encouragingly, there is widespread evidence of a desire to collaborate more intensively to break the logjam. The Diversity Project has seen both a broadening of commitment and increasing demand for tougher action and a holistic approach. What’s missing is consistency of commitment and behaviour.

Drawing on analysis of the gender pay disclosures and extensive interviews, including senior executives from across the investment management sector, this report provides a snapshot of an industry at an inflection point. After a slow, late start, it’s time for the industry to get serious, to prioritise the issue at every level, to drive modern behaviour, working practices and cultures. The prize? Better results for customers, greater opportunities for diverse talent and more resilient firms.

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