Investor group presses male dominated companies

The Investment Association and the Hampton Alexander Review have written to companies with poor female representation on their board


Joe McGrath

The trade body for UK fund managers and the Hampton Alexander Review have written to 69 companies on the FTSE 350 index, to raise concerns about the gender composition of their boards.

Companies being asked to improve the number of women on their boards include Daejan Holdings, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels and the TR Property Investment Trust – all of which have no women on their boards.

“Most companies have made great progress in gender diversity in their boardrooms and senior executive leadership,” explained Sir Philip Hampton, chairperson of the Hampton-Alexander Review.

But there’s a surprising number of boards with just one woman, which looks more like tokenism than diversity. It also does not reflect the population of very talented women capable of making great contributions in boardrooms.”

The letter asked companies to detail the work they are doing to ensure that they meet the UK government-backed Hampton Alexander targets of 33% women on their boards and leadership team by 2020.

“It’s clear that some old-fashioned attitudes to the role of women in the workplace still linger in some of the boardrooms of our biggest companies,” said Rachel Reeves, chairperson of the UK parliamentary Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee.

“The low numbers of women in executive positions can only hinder progress: gender pay gaps are highest in sectors with some of the lowest numbers of women executives,” she added.

“The time for our biggest companies to remedy the lack of gender diversity is long overdue and they need to set out what actions they are taking to make progress. The role of investors is important here too and they need to assert themselves to ensure that diversity is reflected more visibly at board level.”

Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association, added: “Investors have been consistently clear that they want to see greater diversity in the boardroom so it is totally unacceptable that one in five of the UK’s biggest companies are falling so far short.”

The full list of companies is as follows:

One Woman Boards (66)

St James Place Plc

3I Infrastructure Plc

888 Holdings Plc

Acacia Mining Plc

Alliance Trust Plc

Amigo Holdings Plc

Avast Plc

Baillie Gifford Japan Trust Plc

BCA Marketplace Plc

Cairn Energy Plc

Caledonia Investments Plc

Capital Counties Properties Plc

Centamin Plc

Charter Court

City of London Investment Trust Plc

Clarkson Plc

ContourGlobal Plc

Diploma Plc

Dominos Pizza Group Plc

Edinburgh Dragon Trust Plc

Edinburgh Investment Trust Plc

Energean Oil & Gas Plc

F&C Commercial Property Trust Ltd

Ferrexpo Plc

Fidelity China Special Situations Plc

GCP Infrastructure Investments Ltd

Grafton Group Plc

Greencoat UK Wind Plc

Greene King Plc

Harbourvest Global Private Equity Ltd

Herald Investment Trust Plc

HG Capital Trust Plc

HICL Infrastructure Company Ltd

Hill Smith Holdings Plc

Hilton Food Group Plc

Hochschild Mining Plc

IP Group Plc

JD Sports Fashion Plc

JPMorgan American Investment Trust Plc

JPMorgan Emerging Markets Investment Trust Plc

JPMorgan Japanese Investment Trust Plc

Jupiter European Opportunities Trust Plc

Just Group Plc

Monks Investment Trust Plc

Pantheon International Plc

Personal Assets Trust Plc

Plus500 Ltd

Primary Health Properties Plc

Rank Group Plc

Restaurant Group Plc

Riverstone Energy Ltd

Schroder Asia Pacific Fund Plc

Softcat Plc

Stobart Group

Syncona Ltd

Telecom Plus Plc

Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust Plc

Tritax Big Box REIT Plc

Vietnam Enterprise Investments Ltd (VEIL)

Witan Investment Trust Plc

Worldwide Healthcare Trust Plc

Apax Global Alpha Ltd

Civitas Social Housing Plc

NB Global Floating Rate Income Fund Ltd

Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund Ltd

VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Ltd

No women boards (3)

Daejan Holdings plc

Millennium and Copthorne Hotels plc

TR Property Investment Trust plc

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