Diversity and inclusion
At Newton, we believe in the power of diversity of thought and perspective.
This is simply because collaboration between individuals with different skill sets, backgrounds and viewpoints improves decision-making, cultivates innovation and encourages better understanding of our clients and the investment landscape we operate in – vital aspects of our business. Therefore, we are strongly committed to creating and supporting a diverse and inclusive environment.
As investors, we hold our investee companies to high standards when it comes to diversity and inclusion policies and practices, and we have seen first-hand how companies can reap the benefits of strong performance in this area.
We have increasingly turned this lens on ourselves and the asset management industry as a whole, which we know faces structural challenges on this topic. We know that we have much more progress to make, but our leadership and our employees are committed to improving our own diversity and inclusion practices, as well as speaking up within our industry to push for better practices.
This is how we are doing it:
Newton’s diversity and inclusion committee
Established in 2018 and led by our chief investment officer Curt Custard, our diversity and inclusion committee has already made a big impact on daily life at Newton, developing proactive approaches to harnessing the benefits of diversity. So far, the committee has launched a range of events which aim to break down barriers across the business, including a book club and a ‘coffee roulette’ programme, as well as informative breakfast sessions to educate employees on key diversity and inclusion topics.
Our hiring practices
We are working hard to ensure that our hiring practices are as inclusive as possible and to remove as much unconscious bias inherent in the system as we can. To that end, we are seeking to use diverse interview panels, and we are working with our recruitment partners to ensure the final candidate slates for all positions are as diverse as possible. In addition, we have set ourselves the goal for women to comprise 50% of all hires in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
In order to broaden the pool of candidates from which we recruit, we participate in a number of schemes including a Vocational Trainee Programme, which takes talented school leavers and offers them the chance to study for a degree alongside working full time at Newton. At present there are seven graduates of the programme who have continued their work at Newton, and ten current trainees at various stages of the process. We also run a six-week Returning Military Programme, designed to assist ex-service personnel with their transition into civilian employment. After completing this internship, several individuals have gone on to full-time employment at Newton.
Harnessing BNY Mellon’s employee resource groups
As an investment boutique of BNY Mellon, we are able to offer all our employees access to a wide range of global employee networks formed around shared characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, generation, disability, military service and sexual orientation. These groups offer opportunities for personal development, skill-building and networking outside employees’ daily responsibilities.
Addressing the gender pay gap
Our gender pay gap report has helped us understand more about the gender-specific challenges we face, namely that we have more men than women in senior roles. As signatories to the UK HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter, we are committed not only to ensuring we attract more talented female professionals to our industry, but also to making sure that they stay in our industry and maximise their career opportunities. Bringing about such balance will take time, and the initiatives we discuss here will help to do this.
We recognise gender is certainly not the only type of diversity which we need to focus on, and we are currently exploring how we can better measure other forms of diversity within our workforce and ensure we are fostering an environment which is truly diverse.
Industry collaboration and speaking up
As part of the asset management industry, we seek to use our influence to promote the benefits of diversity more widely:
- Initiated by our CEO Hanneke Smits, we have been leading a collaborative initiative with our peers which is looking to address one of the key challenges for the asset management industry in building a diverse workforce, namely the loss of performance continuity through a leave of absence. With the industry so focused on ‘star’ portfolio managers and performance track records, there can be challenges for individuals taking time out from their role to bring up children or care for family members. We look forward to sharing our findings and recommendations with a broader audience shortly.
- We are founding members of the 30% Club, a global initiative to promote more women on boards.
- Our responsible investment team seeks to engage with our investee companies on diversity, and where necessary use our votes at annual general meetings to push for change.
- Our CEO Hanneke Smits is also a founder of Level 20, an initiative which aims to encourage diversity in private equity. In addition, Hanneke is the chair of Impetus, a non-profit organization supporting more than 20 UK-based charities which aim to transform the lives of disadvantaged 11-24 year olds by providing them with the tools they need to succeed in work, school and life.