Chief Executive Officers of the Investor Leadership Network (ILN) held their second CEO Council on June 12, where they committed to work together on measures to increase diversity in the financial industry and capital markets. Recognizing the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and groundswell of support for social justice and equality around the world, the 14 member CEOs emphasized the need for investors to work collectively to promote progress on these and other issues, and they reiterated their commitment to contribute to a fairer and more equitable economy.
At the virtual meeting, the CEOs of the global investment firm members of ILN also announced they will set individual, measurable goals to support greater gender representation in senior leadership positions and investment-related roles within their respective organizations, as a follow up action to last year’s discussion and part of their broader diversity and inclusion efforts.
“Diversity in the investment industry is one of three key initiatives advanced by the Investor Leadership Network since its launch in 2018. We chose to set measurable targets for ourselves as we are convinced that these will support a stronger movement towards diversity and inclusion, driving innovation and performance through our organizations. We are proud to turn this commitment into action by setting new standards for the investment community,” said Charles Emond, President and CEO of CDPQ and Co-chair of the ILN CEO Council.
Using metrics and certification in our journey towards a gender-diverse investment industry
Since August, six ILN organizations have engaged in the EDGE certification process in order to guide, assess and benchmark their progress towards greater gender diversity. Others have selected measures and evaluations more closely aligned to the goals of their individual organizations. Many member organizations adopted the Women’s Empowerment Principles established by UN Global Compact and UN Women or are members of the 30% Club.
Furthermore, ILN members continue to work towards strengthening a diverse talent pipeline in the global investment management industry, including through partnerships with CFA Institute and Women in Capital Markets (WCM).
In addition, the CEOs recently co-signed a principle-based engagement letter in favour of gender equity in the investment industry, a result of the ongoing work of the ILN CIO Roundtable. This forum, created in 2019, gathers senior investment executives from ILN organizations to advance gender diversity and inclusion considerations in investment decisions. Together, they agreed to address five areas of focus in the coming years, mainly through their work with external managers, as well as through their influence over meaningful gender balance outcomes in public and private investments.
“This agreement by ILN members to support and promote gender equality marks continued progress toward our goal of increasing diversity in the financial industry and beyond,” said Jean Raby, CEO of Natixis Investment Managers and Co-Chair of the ILN CEO Council. “As we celebrate the second anniversary of the ILN’s creation, we mark achievements in each of our three focus areas of sustainable infrastructure, climate change and diversity, while reaffirming our collective commitment to continue to advance these important initiatives.”
Reaffirming our commitment on sustainable infrastructure
Despite the fact that the Sustainable Infrastructure Fellowship program has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ILN CEOs are pleased to announce the recruitment of 25 public-sector officials from around the world who will attend the six-week academic and executive training program in 2021. Originally planned for June 2020, the program is built on the success of last year’s inaugural launch which provided participants a richer understanding of the building blocks of attractive infrastructure programs and investable projects.
Taking a step further in the fight against climate change
Last fall, the ILN published a report and practical guidance to assist investors in their approach to climate change reporting. Sharing the lessons learned by ILN members while implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the document is intended to guide asset owners and fund managers in addressing their climate change reporting strategies and disclosures.
Since then, the ILN has continued its work to equip investors to tackle climate change risk with the aim to create and deliver a toolkit on scenario analysis which is planned for late this year. This toolkit will be designed to help portfolio managers and non-climate experts better understand the financial implications of a transition to a low carbon economy.
The CEOs agreed to continue ILN’s push towards progress in its three areas of focus and will reconvene again next year.