Three of the world’s largest investment managers have committed to reviewing how much they pay their female staff in the wake of accusations that the asset management industry only promotes and protects the interests of white, middle-aged men.
Aberdeen Asset Management, Baillie Gifford and Franklin Templeton are undertaking detailed audits of staff remuneration in a bid to pre-empt impending rule changes in the UK that will require large companies to publish information on how much they pay the men and women they employ.
Baillie Gifford said it has already conducted an internal review of salaries. Nick Thomas, a partner at the Scottish investment house, said: “I am happy to say that we found that we do not have a pattern of gender pay discrepancy across comparable roles.”
Regulatory changes set to apply in the UK next year mean companies with 250 or more employees will have to publish information on their gender pay gap by April 2018. The rule changes are subject to parliamentary approval.
A spokesperson for Franklin Templeton said: “We regularly review our pay practices around the world and provide our leaders with real-time access to compensation ‘dashboards’ that give them the ability to monitor pay levels based on industry benchmarks.”
“These dashboards help to ensure all employees are recognised appropriately according to their contributions and performance, irrespective of gender.”
The fund management market has come in for harsh criticism regarding the shortage of women in senior roles. Research released before the summer showed that fewer than one in 10 of UK funds are managed or co-managed by women, while in the US, just 184 of 7,000 mutual funds are run by women.
The findings from FTfm’s third Women in Asset Management survey, which was published last month and polled 406 staff working in fund management, found that 63 per cent of female respondents believe women working in the industry earn less than men in similar roles.
Fifty-one per cent said investment companies should also introduce quotas to get more women into senior positions.
In a bid to combat the problem of underrepresentation, a group of Europe’s largest asset managers, including Schroders and Allianz Global Investors, joined forces in June to launch the Diversity Project, a campaign that aims to ensure diverse recruitment across the industry in terms of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, age, sexual orientation and disability.
Helena Morrissey, chairwoman of the Investment Association, the trade body, and a leading activist for gender equality in the workplace, said at the time the campaign was launched: “The asset management market has gone backwards in terms of diversity and something had to be done about it.
“Enough was enough.”