A new campaign to gather richer data on diversity, equity and inclusion across the U.K. money management industry aims to provide qualitative and quantitative evidence of progress being made and areas for improvement.
The Investment Association and Thinking Ahead Institute launched a 64-question survey Tuesday, which has been sent to the IA's 250 members. In the survey, money managers are being asked to provide data across a range of employee attributes, including gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background and neurodiversity.
The survey will ask managers for information on the type of data they are gathering, how often they're collecting the information and how they're advancing DEI — known as equality, diversity and inclusion in the U.K. — within their organization and the wider industry.
"This is a study of the diversity, equity and inclusion in the U.K. asset management industry," said Marisa Hall, head of the Thinking Ahead Institute, in an interview.
Its launch came off the back of work by Financial Conduct Authority, a U.K. watchdog, to examine and encourage progress in DEI at money management firms, she said. Part of that is that the FCA expects more robust data collection and a better link between the data collected and the action that organizations are taking when it comes to DEI, Ms. Hall added.
The IA and TAI will use the results of the data "not just (to) create a picture of what the U.K. asset management industry looks like, but also (to) provide recommendations and suggestions to how the gaps can be filled," Ms. Hall said. The second part of the survey — the qualitative part — will help with this as it asks, for example, what method of collecting diversity data proved the most successful, whether managers are taking part in various industry initiatives, and how firms are working to ensure an equitable recruitment process.
Ms. Hall thinks that, for many firms, the findings of the survey will be "either a wakeup call or a time to be introspective," with managers realizing that while they are making efforts to progress their own DEI, they may not be linking those efforts with data. The survey is a "call to continue doing the good work, but to collect the data to support it, she added. Data mean "we can track the progress … and make the industry more attractive" to the "best and brightest" of the U.K.
Money managers have until June 7 to complete the survey, which can be accessed on Willis Towers Watson's website. The results will be published later this year.
The IA's members manage £10 trillion ($12.41 trillion) in assets. The TAI, which grew out of Willis Towers Watson's Thinking Ahead Group, has more than 50 asset owner and manager members with responsibility for over $16 trillion in assets.