Diversity initiatives contradict asset managers’ vast gender pay gap

Women’s pay lags men’s as much as 46% at some investment houses



Diversity initiatives promoted by the likes of Rathbones, T Rowe Price and Invesco present the firms in a much more positive light than their double-digit gender pay gap figures.

Portfolio Adviser combed financial services gender pay gap data and crunched the numbers on 55 asset and wealth managers, looking at 2018 reports published on a government data base for companies with 250 or more employees. The government requires firm to supply data by the first week of April.

Based on the median pay gap, Schroder & Co, which refers to Schroders’ wealth management business, is the worst offender with the investment industry. Quilter Cheviot and US money manager Wellington Management round out the top three, while Rathbones and wealth managers like Brewin Dolphin and Arbuthnot Latham feature in the worst 10.

A Schroders spokesperson stressed to Portfolio Adviser that Schroders & Co is the group’s wealth management business and that the figure for the global workforce is 30%, which he said was an improvement on 31% in 2017. The percentage of women in top-quartile pay was 22% in the global workforce in 2018, almost double the 12.6% of women in the same bracket at the firm’s wealth management arm.

Asset and wealth managers with the largest median pay difference between male and female employees

Employer Employer Size % Difference in hourly rate (Median)
Schroder & Co* 250 to 499 46.3
Quilter Cheviot 500 to 999 44
Wellington Management International 250 to 499 43.4
Rathbone Brothers 1000 to 4999 43
Close Brothers 1000 to 4999 41.3
Aberdeen Asset Managers 500 to 999 41
Arbuthnot Latham & Co 250 to 499 40.9
Brewin Dolphin 1000 to 4999 39.3
SG Kleinwort Hambros 250 to 499 38.8
Standard Life Investments 1000 to 4999 38

*Refers to Schroders’ wealth management business

Source: Gender pay gap service/Gov.uk

Lack of women in senior roles is not a good excuse for the pay gap

Portfolio Adviser also contacted firms that were the worst offenders when it comes to the mean gender pay gap, including Brown Shipley where the difference in hourly rate is 47.8% lower for women. That is worse than the 44.2% gap it published in 2017.

Its parent, KBL European Private Bankersacquired Dutch private bank Insinger de Beaufort (IdB) during the period, which it blamed for an increasing number of men in senior roles driving its 2018 figure higher. The acquisition added 27 employees to Brown Shipley’s London office, with several of the senior roles held by men.

In a written statement, Brown Shipley said it was committed to “promoting equal opportunities to all employees”. A spokesperson said: “In common with much of the financial services industry, our gender pay gap is a result of the roles men and women hold within the business and the salaries that those roles attract.”

But such statements are part of the problem, according to CityHive chief strategist Mandy Kirby.

“Many try to articulate the reasons for the gap, but fall short of a full explanation – saying you’ve a large gap because you’ve not got many senior women or because women are not in fee-earning roles is not a response, it’s part of the problem,” she says.

Even without taking senior roles into account, women are already underrepresented in the asset management industry making up 38% of the employee base, according to data by the IA.

Worst asset managers for having women in well-paid roles

Employer Employer Size % Women in top pay quartile
Quilter Cheviot 500 to 999 12
Pictet Asset Management 250 to 499 12
Schroder & Co* 250 to 499 12.6
Invesco UK 1000 to 4999 13
Arbuthnot Latham 250 to 499 13.3
Aberdeen Asset Management 500 to 999 15
Brewin Dolphin 1000 to 4999 16
HSBC Global Asset Management 250 to 499 16
Merian Global Investors Less than 250 16
Prudential Financial Planning 250 to 499 16

*Refers to Schroders’ wealth management business

Source: Gender pay gap service/Gov.uk

Initiatives in place

Portfolio Adviser sought details from the worst offenders when it came to the gender pay gap on what diversity initiatives they have in place finding many had strategies that aligned with the Investment Association push to improve the picture for women in the asset management industry.

In a report, Closing the Gap, published two days ahead of the Gender Pay Gap reporting deadline, it broke down 15 initiatives into three groups: attraction and recruitment; retention and advancement; and monitoring.

Investment Association initiatives for improving the gender pay gap


Brown Shipley, for example, requires the firm’s executive search teams to include strong female representation in shortlists when looking for senior hires. Starting salaries must also be the same for men and women, plus it has flexible working, enhanced maternity leave and work closely with women’s networks.

Rathbones have merged its women’s network into a broader diversity group and has rolled out unconscious bias training.

A spokesperson for Rathbones said: “We have rolled out unconscious bias training across the firm to help people recognise their own unconscious biases and the impact this has on decision-making.

T Rowe Price admits it has a problem

T Rowe Price has admitted it has a problem and has an initiative to specifically target a higher proportion of women in its male-dominated sales teams.

For four years, it has run a London-based apprentice scheme, aimed at attracting staff via non-traditional routes into the asset management industry. School leavers and those returning to the workplace work with T. Rowe Price for a minimum of 12 months and gain insights into a wide range of roles.

Robert Higginbotham, head of global investment management services, said: “Our gender pay gap data for 2018 indicates we continue to have a representation issue, particularly within our sales and investment divisions. Although the gender pay gap is an intrinsic societal issue, we recognise that we have a significant responsibility in helping to address and reduce the gap.”

Invesco UK, which performed poorly on a mean basis when it came to gender pay, said it recruited its first dedicated diversity and inclusion manager in EMEA at the end of last year.

Women underrepresented is not a response

Kirby says even at the better end of the scale, the data remains indicative that the pay gap and the leadership gap “is not being taken seriously enough”, and “this is because it is a difficult, structural issue that needs commitment from the very top of organisations to address”.

She says companies should be talking to their staff about their pay gap and having meaningful conversations at different levels of the business about their needs, firms behind on the gender pay gap, or in the worst 10, argued that “it will take time”.

“One more woman in the senior management team won’t fix the absence of upcoming talent, or support for future leaders.”

She adds the reporting system itself means the data is not complete. “Firms are allowed to choose their own categorisation, and so in the financial services bracket we see firms that look like outliers and we are missing some firms we would expect to see there that have been categorised as professional and scientific or miscellaneous.

“Some firms are reporting on a country office basis, which may show a different picture than the overall global one, for better or worse. “And of course, median and mean data points only tell you part of the story.”