Lawrence Gosling talks to LGIM's Dame Helena Morrissey about how the investment world can improve its image problems and what real diversity looks like for the sector.
Perhaps surprisingly, Morrissey also has sympathy with some of what was said by the now infamous Google refusenik James Damore, whose cause has been taken up by the alt-right after he was sacked for going public with incendiary comments on gender issues within the world of coding.
However, Morrissey says Damore "made some very valid points", adding "it is a bit ironic, not to say illogical, if diversity ends up that you cannot have a different view".
This is relevant to Morrissey's world in terms of how different genders are treated in investment circles.
"There are cultural and social reasons why gender differences are extenuated or not," she says.
"But actually, we shouldn't shy away from that. In fact, I think it is an impediment to getting true equality if we don't acknowledge that on average there are differences related to our different hormones and other aspects of our biology."
It is a contentious opinion and Morrissey makes the plea that "we shouldn't make a drama out of people expressing a view" and an "adult conversation" should be possible.
Whether that conversation should be led by the so-called alt-right is open to question and, certainly, as the founder of the 30% Club, Morrissey obviously believes in targets.
"But we are not trying to develop a boy band; one of this, one of that," she says. "Ultimately, as well as fairness you want to have cognitive diversity, where different perspectives come into play."
"I think I prefer the idea of voluntary change as mandatory stuff is obviously a bit of a blunt instrument. What we are trying to do with the Diversity Project is encourage transparency.
"I would like the industry to have a chance to sort things out itself and just get ahead."
Certainly, Morrissey herself rose through the ranks without 'mandatory' help and she points out she was blessed during her time at Newton by working with understanding bosses.
After a period at Schroders, where "I didn't even get a first promotion", she landed a role on the fixed income desk at Newton where she ensured she would not "make the same mistake twice" and expected to be given a pay rise "for doing a good job".
"I think that you can go quite a long way without seeming pushy by just being can-do and saying 'yes, I'll do that', and not holding back when often we women, again generalising, do worry about what might go wrong," she says.
"I consciously took more risk, but really because I realised that that could hold me back.
"I also learnt to network more. It did help being a woman as the bond teams obviously had relatively few women. There was a time when my direct competitors running international bond funds were all called Paul."
Her tenacity paid off as Morrissey was named the winner of Investment Week's Fund Manager of the Year Award in the bond category in the late 1990s.