Investors Implement Tougher Gender Diversity Targets

French asset manager will punish companies where boards are not one-third female 08 July 2020 Investors Implement Tougher Gender Diversity Targets

Attracta Mooney of the FT covers investors’ latest push for increased gender diversity on boards. In this piece, the FT covers Axa IM’s latest policy whereby from 2021 it will punish companies in developed markets that fail to appoint sufficient female directors, using its vote at annual meetings where women do not account for at least a third of board members.

Deborah Gilshan, an independent adviser on investment stewardship and ESG issues, said the coronavirus pandemic had reinforced the need for diverse boards.“Boards that have not embraced robust governance, including diversity, have an added layer of risk,” she said. “With tough decisions to make, boards and CEOs need diverse teams who are able to challenge each other to get to the best outcome.”

The fund industry has become increasingly outspoken about the need for diversity on boards. Only a handful of asset managers, however, have policies in place to require at least a third of board members to be women. This includes Federated Hermes and France’s La Banque Postale AM and Lyxor, according to data from SquareWell, a shareholder advisory company. France has had a 40 per cent female board quota since 2016.

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