According to Sir Philip Hampton, the Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline who last year co-led the Hampton Alexander Review (a government review into women in business) the asset management sector is an example of an industry that has “gone backwards” when it comes to gender diversity.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Sir Philip said that the sector needed to boost its efforts to attract more women after seeing earlier progress go into reverse.
It should be one of the most gender neutral industries you can think of – it’s about analysis and judgment. But it’s overwhelmingly male.
It should be a sector where women feel comfortable and it isn’t. It’s one of those sectors that has gone backwards,” he added.
The lack of diversity in the funds industry, which three in four British households rely on to manage their pensions, is notable given that money managers around the world are pushing companies to increase the diversity on their boards.
He added that a failure to address the industry’s own issues was reducing asset manager’s own attempts to ensure greater diversity at board level among companies they hold.
Sir Philip’s comments come hot foot behind the revelation by City banker, Brenda Trenowden, chairwoman of the 30% Club, that only 14 of Britain’s FTSE100 companies have signed up to the campaign to have 30% female Board members.
Given that they have until the end of this month to sign up, it’s not very encouraging.
However, with UK firms employing more than 250 staff having to publically disclose their gender pay gap by April 2017, it’s likely that, given the reputational risks that are associated with big pay disparities, the City will prioritise gender diversity in the coming months.