The Investment Association (IA) and the Hampton-Alexander Review have written to 35 FTSE 350 companies with low female representation at leadership level, calling for change.
14 companies in the FTSE 100 have been singled out. Companies in the FTSE 100 who have all-male Executive Committees, such as BP and Smurfit Kappa Group, and companies whose combined Executive Committees and Direct Reports have low proportions of women, such as Persimmon and TUI, have been asked to explain their poor gender balance and what steps they are taking to move towards the targets as set out in the Hampton-Alexander Review.
The Investment Association and the Hampton-Alexander Review have also written to 11 companies in the FTSE 250 who have all-male Boards, including Sports Direct and Stobart Group, and 10 companies who chose not to report their gender diversity data to the Hampton-Alexander Review last year, including The AA, J D Wetherspoon and Wizz Air.
As the trade body representing UK investment managers who collectively own one third of the FTSE and hold the UK’s biggest listed companies to account, the IA calls on businesses to take swift action. Investors want Boards and leadership teams to urgently address gender diversity. Diverse companies typically outperform their less diverse peers and make better long-term decisions.
Chris Cummings, Chief Executive of the Investment Association said:
“The body of research is clear: firms with a diverse management team and pipeline make better decisions and drive innovation. The target of 33% for women in senior leadership positions by 2020 absolutely aligns with investors’ desire to see the companies they invest in recognising diversity as a critical business issue.
“The Hampton-Alexander recommendations have now been in place since November 2016. Investors are becoming restless and want companies to take action.
“A number of key investors have told us that they will vote against AGM resolutions on the grounds of gender representation. With the AGM season now in full swing, companies who are falling short should take urgent steps to outline what they plan to do to increase diversity.”