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Legal and General to target gender gaps with shareholder votes

LGIM’s Helena Morrissey speaking at the Diversity Project

Legal and General Investment Management will use its shareholder power to target firms with poor records on gender balance.

LGIM has already begun voting against all-male boards in the US, but will now take on the chairs of Ftse 350 companies in their 2018 annual general meetings if less than a quarter of their board is female, the £1trn investment manager has said.

LGIM director of corporate governance Sacha Sadan tells the Financial Times: “We have given people time. We started talking about this in 2011. We are in 2018 now.”

Weighed down: New data sheds light on investment industry gender pay gulf

The move towards greater shareholder activism comes after women’s minister Victoria Atkins said earlier this year the asset managers should “nudge companies in the right direction” on diversity.

LGIM’s head of personal investing Helena Morrissey has become an influential figure for greater female representation in the asset management sector, taking a leading role in initiatives like the Diversity Project and the 30% Club.

Other asset managers are focusing greater levels of activism on other aspects of corporate governance, for example, Royal London, which has recently threatened votes against the likes of Metro Bank and advertising giant WPP.

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Andrew Macintyre 17th April 2018 at 9:03 am

    It’s good to see a large index investment manager using their clout as a big institutional shareholder to drive change such as this.

  2. Nicholas Pleasure 17th April 2018 at 10:09 am

    Men and women have very different skills and to exclude one set of skills from your board would be a mistake. I loathe the kind of virtue signalling that is going on at the moment on gender, but frankly, this just makes good business/investment sense.

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