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.”
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.