Helena Morrissey, who chairs the UK’s fund association, would like a woman to fill the vacant post at the head of the embattled trade group and will speak to “one or two women” about the role.
When Ms Morrissey took over as chairwoman of the IA (Investment Association) last summer, its board was made up of just one woman and 14 men. She told FTfm at the time: “It is clear we need more women.” There are now five women on the board, including Ms Morrissey.
Ms Morrissey is the Chief Executive of Newton Investment Management, a £50+ billion fund management company. In 2010 she launched the 30% club, members of which – mostly men, FTSE100 chairmen and the like – commit themselves to greater board gender diversity. Our associated organization Campaign for Merit in Business has presented Ms Morrissey with evidence of a causal link between increased gender diversity on boards and corporate financial decline, and – needless to say – they have made no difference to her relentless campaigning. A public challenge sent to her in November 2012 remains unanswered to this day.
The capitulation of the business sector – and businessmen in particular – to these social engineering agendas is a matter of shame. It’s known that the government’s longer-term target is gender parity on FTSE350 boards. On the basis that one in three private sector employees are women, four in seven British men are work-centred but only one in seven British women is (Dr Catherine Hakim’s Preference Theory), and men still dominate the upper reaches of the Finance profession, we would expect fewer than 5% of FTSE100 board directors to be women. In the FTSE100 the figure has just reached 25% – the proportion has more than doubled since 2011, in response to the government’s threats of legislated gender quotas – and the 50% target on FTSE350 boards will require a tenfold preferencing of women to be achieved.