Investment Association targets diversity with female board appointments

With the appointment of four buy-side executives to the board at the Investment Association, female representation has almost doubled.

The UK’s asset management trade body has expanded its board of directors with the appointment of four executives from leading buy-side firms, almost doubling its female board representation.  

Caroline Connellan, CEO at Brooks Macdonald Group, Michelle Scrimgeour, CEO for Europe at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Hanneke Smits, CEO at Newton Investment Management, and Dan Watkins, COO for Europe at JP Morgan Asset Management, have all joined the Investment Association as new board members.

The appointments reflects the Investment Association’s commitment to increase diversity throughout the industry, the body said in a statement. With Connellan, Scrimgoeur and Smits now members of the board, female representation has almost doubled from just over 20% previously to nearly 40%.

“The board of directors sits at the heart of the Investment Association and it is essential that we have a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives around the table,” Chris Cummings, CEO at the Investment Association, added.  

“We know that firms with diverse management teams make better decisions, so I am particularly pleased that we have been able to increase the diversity of our Board with these four new appointments.”

The new appointments are replacing four board members who are retiring, including Paul Feeney, CEO at Quilter, Andrew Farmica, formerly co-CEO at Janus Henderson, Andrew Laing, head of integration at Aberdeen Standard Investments, and Mark Zinkula, the foremer CEO at Legal & General Investment Management.

“I would like to pay tribute to the contribution of those retiring directors, who have given us many years of service. Their wisdom and experience have helped to build the Investment Association into the organisation of influence that it is today,” Peter Harrison, chairman of the Investment Association, said.  

Last month, the trade body promoted one of its senior regulatory specialist to head of European affairs as it prepares to open a new office in Brussels ahead of Brexit.

Johannes Woelfing will set up the new office, which the Investment Association said was established to ensure an increased presence in the city, and act as the group’s main representative in Brussels.