Taking to Twitter on Monday, Vanguard Group wrote: “We sincerely apologise for the email sent to clients this morning. It was tone-deaf and does not reflect Vanguard’s values.”
The email from Vanguard Personal Advisor Services was titled ‘How to be a man (or woman!) with a plan’.
“At Vanguard, we are committed to fostering an inclusive community of investors. Clearly, we have more work to do.”
In response, the firm said it “will take immediate steps – including additional diversity and inclusion education for our team – to ensure this never happens again”.
There was a bit of a mixed response on social media, with one female Twitter user calling the email “pretty sexist”; while a male user urged Vanguard not to “waste money” on training as the email was “only a problem for those looking to be offended”.
But the chief executive and founder of Cityhive, Bev Shah, told International Adviser that “the Vanguard email is one of many unacceptable errors firms will make on the journey to truly imbed diversity and inclusion into their corporate DNA”.
“They need every department, every team, every individual really thinking about every action they are taking.”
Shah flagged up the 40% UK gender pension gap: “This would be a lot narrower today if firms had not been so stuck on targeting a certain demographic of male customers, which may have historically been the most lucrative group for asset gathering.
“It has meant, as an industry, we have not served society as well as we should have and could have.”
Cityhive is a network for change that champions a more balanced asset and investment management industry.