People need to be "energised" about diversity, according to HSBC Global Asset Management UK chief executive Andy Clark, at an event focusing on the topic organised by The Diversity Project.
The event, sponsored by HSBC Global Asset Management UK and hosted by Aviva Investors, featured speakers such as HSBC's senior product specialist Meike Bliebenicht, LGIM's Dame Helena Morrissey, PwC partner Jon Terry, Jane Welsh, co-lead of the Diversity Project's Gender Network and Gavin Lewis, head of institutional distribution at Vanguard.
Thinktank New Financial also soft-launched their findings from a study into diversity in portfolio management roles.
Delegates received suggestions on how they could improve diversity within their organisations such as tracking diversity data, signing up to the Women in Finance charter and supporting mentoring of women.
Lewis, who joined Vanguard in 2016, spoke about the lack of black representation in asset management.
"I have always lamented the lack of black representation in the asset management industry. But what I find irksome is the fact that it is never discussed; as if somehow the situation is acceptable," he said.
"To enact real, lasting change we need more black people in positions of influence. Those at the top need to identify and nurture talent and to make this a priority. Those few black people who have broken though need to add their voice to this discussion."
Meanwhile, Terry and Welsh discussed how the gender pay gap story had progressed since April's disclosure deadline. They outlined four priorities for firms going into 2018/19; planning for next year's reporting, preparing for future compliance, reviewing pay governance and taking action to close the gap.
Over 85% of firms have a gender pay gap in favour of men, around 40% have a pay gap above the 17.4% national average and around 10% have a pay gap above 30%.
Financial services has one of the highest gender pay gaps as a sector, which PwC attributed to the number of men in senior and high-paid roles.
PwC also put together a report, Diversity is the solution, not a problem to solve, on the benefits of a diverse workplace. Diverse firms, it said, create better outcomes for customers, better business returns, are more innovative, create more value, are more attractive to potential employees and improve their reputation and brand.
Lastly was a report into females into asset management, compiled by The Diversity Project. Only 20% of CFA UK members were female, which the report attributed to issues such as the "arcane nature of the industry" and lack of flexibility around working arrangements.
It suggested solutions such as being open-minded about flexible working, changing the organisational culture, changing recruitment processes and lessening the cult of the star fund manager.
Speaking at the event, HSBC Global Asset Management's Clark told delegates: "We have to be energised about diversity, we do not want to risk diversity fatigue.
"We have a lot to do, there are some great ideas, some great initiatives and incredible people.
"As we have seen with the gender pay gap, it will take a while but we will get there and we want to keep people on the journey with us. I believe as individuals and corporations, we have our part to play, we need to be individually brave and need to spread the word."
The Diversity Project has been organising a series of events around the UK this year to raise £2m to support charities affected by The President's Club dinner revelations. The last two events of the year will take place in Manchester in 10 October and London on 29 October.
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