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UK asset managers falling behind on DE&I

UK, diversity, equity and inclusionThe UK asset management industry is lagging hedge funds and the insurance sector when it comes to how it scores for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), according to the latest Race to Equality Index.

The index is published by Reboot, a campaign group of senior financial services professionals whose aim is to maintain the dialogue on race and ethnicity in the workplace.

This measures how financial services companies perform in terms of being diverse, equitable and inclusive places to work and is in its second year.

It found the average DE&I score for financial services firms improved, from 65 out of an optimal 100, to 67 in the past 12 months.

Hedge funds and insurance companies saw the greatest improvements by subsector, climbing from 65 to 68, and 66 to 68 year-on-year, respectively.

However, asset management is the only sub-sector to have regressed over the period, having dropped from 66 to 64 this year.

Other subsectors, including investment banking, pensions, private markets and wealth management, all saw their DE&I scores improve.

Noreen Biddle Shah, founder of Reboot, said: “Increased efforts to boost diversity, equity and inclusion within the industry have been a commercial reaction as well as a socially conscious one.

“Multiple studies have concluded that a diverse workforce boosts profits, innovation, creativity, and productivity. It can also improve decision making and risk outcomes.”

Shah added that while the slight uptick in the overall average index score over the past 12 months is “promising”, there is still “much more to be done to level the playing field for ethnic minority groups within financial services”.

The 2022 Race to Equality Index also revealed ethnic minority employees who work in large firms – of $10 billion or more in revenue – registered an index score of 70, up from 67 last year, while 30 to 34-year-olds were also more positive year-on-year, scoring 70 this year, compared to 65 last year.

Dimple Mistry and Sachin Bhatia, co-leads of the Diversity Project Race and Ethnicity Workstream, said they had expected asset management “to be leading the way”.

“We know many asset management firms have put tangible actions in place to attract, develop and retain diverse talent, however this score does highlight that the industry, as a whole, still has work to do and needs to ensure that creating inclusive cultures remains a firm strategic objective with clear measurable actions,” Mistry and Bhatia added.

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