Clients value it, industry groups promote it, consultants track it and studies support that it improves business and investment performance. So why does the asset management industry seem to still have trouble achieving the goals firms have set for true, meaningful gender diversity?
Pensions & Investments examined the industry's efforts in a seven-story special report in our May 18 issue. Our reporting found that measurement alone, while important, doesn't seem to be the entire solution, despite business guru Peter Drucker's maxim that "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it."
Lisa Jones, head of the Americas, president and CEO of Amundi Pioneer Asset Management USA Inc., made an important point, saying that "unless you develop your culture to be (one) of inclusion, which learns to embrace and celebrate people who bring different ideas to the table, your focus on metrics will always fail."
And culture, which is part of the problem, has an opportunity to change more this year than in many years.
The novel coronavirus pandemic abruptly changed how millions of people work, including institutional money managers. Firms everywhere that long have operated on face-to-face relationship-building and often judged hours in the office as a sign of dedication and commitment to the organization transformed to effectively having everyone working from home.
The needs of children, elders and pets became an acknowledged part of employees' responsibilities. Flexibility is a mantra, and importantly, it is working.
We hope the changes that were necessary for firms to survive — and even thrive — in the pandemic can be retained and adapted to enable all employees from all kinds of diverse backgrounds to be included in the industry's culture and success going forward.