We saw a huge turnout for our market open at the London Stock Exchange on 4 March, alongside FTSE Russell. Undeterred by the rain or the early start, our attendees helped us to mark the start of a week of International Women’s Day events.
After a generous breakfast and coffee, we settled in with an introduction from Diane Cote, Chief Risk Office of the London Stock Exchange Group, and who chairs the Women Inspired Network. In a rousing address, our CEO Bev Shah then made a clear call to the audience to come together to change the culture of the asset and investment management industry. Bev urged an end to the ‘wilful blindness’ that has prevented real progress towards balance and equality of opportunity.
We then turned to the perspective from the investment side, with a distinguished panel of cross-industry faces – Jupiter Asset Management’s Abbie Llewelyn-Waters, AXA Investment Management’s Anne Tolumen, FTSE Russell’s Fong Yee Chan and Hermes Investment Management’s Leon Kahmi, guided by moderator Lawrence Gosling. Contributions ranged from the importance of bringing new skills and voices into investment houses, the invisible barriers to the way jobs are structured and in intermediaries such as recruiters, the influence that investors can have on company boards and practices and the challenges of building a truly representative product that can help to reward companies that are aiming to redress balance.