Hermes and Pictet among first managers to support diversity initiative

Comes as most firms expected to have made little progress on gender pay gaps since last year

Gender pay gap

A raft of asset management firms have committed to City Hive, the network dedicated to improving diversity and inclusion in asset management, as founding corporate members.

Hermes Investment Management, Pictet Asset Management, Mirabaud Asset Management, Eaton Vance Investment Management, Gemini Investment and WHEB Asset Management are the first to put their name to the initiative, it was announced on Monday.

And Portfolio Adviser understands Brooks Macdonald is the first wealth manager to back the movement.

The appointment of the founding corporate members comes just weeks after City Hive founder Bev Shah (pictured) called on industry professionals to end the “wilful blindness” that allows a lack of balance and equality of opportunity to persist. City Hive opened trading on the London Stock Exchange on 4 March.

Shah said: “We need openness to the idea that working practices need to change. A balanced workforce is good for business, good for customers, good for profitability and workplace culture, and increasingly attractive for investors. And yet, we do not yet have equality of opportunity and equal treatment in the workplace. We need improved hiring practises, an equalisation of terms, levelling of pay, better prospects. And people must feel like they belong.”

Hermes Investment Management chief executive Saker Nusseibeh said the financial services industry is one of the worst in terms of its gender pay gap and diversity.

He added: “Women make up 50% of the population, therefore it is poor business to exclude such a large pool of talent. We are proud to join City Hive to help challenge and change the culture of the City to become more diverse, equal and inclusive.  It is imperative that our industry widens the pool of people from which we recruit and create channels of growth which allow them to succeed over the long-term.”

Pictet Asset Management managing partner and chief executive Laurent Ramsey said: “Diversity goes hand-in-hand with inclusion —that is, making each employee feel valued and giving each a voice in daily business. Together, diversity and inclusion support the cause of excellence, which is ultimately in the best interests of our clients.”

The announcement comes just after firms with more than 250 employees were required by the government to report their gender pay gap by 4 April. Analysis by Portfolio Adviser concluded 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.

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