The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has launched a campaign for greater diversity on pension fund trustee board, under the title “Breaking the Mirror Image”.
The PLSA said that a variety of studies has shown that having a broad range of experience and perspectives can help trustee boards avoid “group think”, or a herding mentality where individuals all think alike. The PLSA said that research has found that trustee boards are, on average, 83% male. Its campaign is starting with gender diversity, and will broaden to include other forms of diversity in the future.
Commenting on the campaign, pensions minister, Richard Harrington, said: “I am determined to see greater gender balance in the financial sector, and welcome this initiative and practical support for companies from the PLSA. A balanced workforce is good for businesses, their workplace culture and for investors. Firms with a good gender balance in senior positions and across teams perform better, and therefore attract the best talent.”
PLSA chair, Lesley Williams, added: “Having made it to chair of the PLSA, this new initiative is really important to me, personally. We’ve been interested in diversity on corporate boards for some time through our corporate governance work; but with an increasing political and social focus on diversity, this is the right time for the association to stimulate and support diversity in our own industry. Our campaign begins by looking at gender diversity, but there are many elements to consider if we want truly representative and diverse trustee boards – gender, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, and social class.”
And Chris Hitchen, chief executive at the Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited, commented: “Cognitive diversity is vital for the strategic thinking we need from companies and investing organisations in order to pay pensions securely, affordably and sustainably into the far future. This is why I’m pleased to be part of the new initiative from the PLSA.”