Diversity Project launches in Europe to drive inclusivity in asset management

Eight founding firms have set up workstreams around three themes


By Michael Nelson

The Diversity Project has announced the launch of a cross-border and cross-company initiative aiming to pave the way towards a more inclusive asset management industry across Europe.

The Diversity Project Europe (DPE) will launch this autumn in partnership with eight founding member firms: Aegon Asset Management, AXA Investment Managers, Franklin Templeton, HSBC Global Asset Management, Nordea Asset Management, Pictet Asset Management, Quoniam Asset Management and T. Rowe Price.

Although data is sparse, the asset management industry is reported to be well behind other professional services sectors in terms of gender balance and the number of those from ethnic minorities in decision-making roles.

See also: More CEOs named Andrew and Simon than female leaders in FTSE 100

For example, almost half (47%) of Europe’s asset and wealth managers are yet to achieve boards made up of 40% women, despite this being the target required by the European Women on Boards Directive, according to the latest EY European Financial Services Boardroom Monitor.

“To better serve clients and stay competitive, the industry must evolve and widen its talent pool,” commented Ric van Weelden, acting chair of the Diversity Project Europe’s advisory committee.

“Not only will this benefit the industry, but it will also have an impact beyond this, building a workforce that is more representative of today’s diverse society.

“Over my 35 years in the industry I have seen a lot of phenomenal talent, but I have also seen how talent acquisition based on a historical set of criteria can lead to group think and little diversity of thought and perspective. The competitive landscape is simply becoming increasingly complex and unforgiving of this unacceptable status quo.”

The DPE will focus initially on Europe’s key asset management markets and the three themes of gender equality, social mobility and inclusive culture.

The project will set up workstreams around these three themes, and commission research to understand the current state of play around diversity and inclusion in the European asset management industry. The aim of the research is to establish the challenges and opportunities, which will inform where the DPE is likely to focus its efforts.

“At AXA IM, we have been active members of the Diversity Project in the UK and in the Americas, so we are excited to join the Diversity Project Europe as a founding member,” said Marion Le Morhedec, global head of fixed income at AXA Investment Managers.

“We will provide our perspectives as well as learning from our past experiences to help make this initiative a success as well as seek to influence and inform our own inclusion and diversity policies benefiting from the collective expertise at a European level.”

See also: Helena Morrissey’s Diversity Project to turbo charge female manager numbers

This story originated on our sister title, ESG Clarity.

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