Premier investment trust first to have all-female board

Despite the milestone, Premier Asset Management’s board of directors consists solely of men

gender pay gap

The Premier Global Infrastructure Trust will be the first investment company to sport an all-female board, according to the Association of Investment Companies (AIC).

The board is to be chaired by Gill Nott with Victoria Muir and Kasia Robinski serving as directors.

However, investment manager for the trust Premier Asset Management still has an all-male board. Its six-strong board includes chairman Mike Vogel and chief executive Mike O’Shea. The four remaining board members, including its two non-executive directors, are all men.

The fund house did not respond to Portfolio Adviser‘s request for comment.

All-female board not the answer

Chief executive and founder at City Hive, a women’s network for the investment management industry, Bev Shah (pictured) said diversity was the ultimate aim for any board.

“Equality is not having an all-male or female board,” Shah said. “The benefits of cognitive diversity are only felt when you have a mix of people around the table to truly maximise on different experiences. So, having a female-only board could create the same problems male-only boards have created.

“What we should be working towards is a 50/50 gender split on boards with decision making power being held equally. And equal pay parity.”

AIC communications director Annabel Brodie-Smith said there is still work to be done to improve gender diversity on investment trust boards.

Women currently hold only 22% of investment company directorships. Brodie-Smith points out this is still an increase from 13% in the last five years and up from 7% in 2009.

Brodie-Smith added that the AIC helping investment companies improve diversity at the board level.

The 30% Club hosted a session at the AIC conference this year on the benefits of diversity, she said. The industry body has also held six seminars over the last two years for to encourage those who “perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily consider a non-executive position on an investment company to give it some thought”, she said.

“We also recommend that the annual report should include a description of the board’s policy on diversity, including gender, any measurable objectives that it has set for implementing the policy, and progress on achieving the objectives.”

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