Investment titans have vowed to vote out UK boards that fail to make progress on ethnic diversity after Black Lives Matter protests sparked “soul-searching” in the City.
BlackRock, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Federated Hermes plan to ramp up the pressure on firms in the coming year and vote to oust directors failing to back diversity in the wake of the global protests, The Telegraph can reveal.
The investment giants – which manage assets worth trillions of pounds – will respond to growing concerns of glacial progress on the issue in the Square Mile.
“It will be a voting action, not necessarily in 2021 but certainly more likely from 2022 if we see no progress on these specific issues,” said Amra Balic, BlackRock’s head of investment stewardship for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “We expect companies to take action in relation to, for example, the Parker Review.”
The Black Lives Matter protests swept the globe after the death of George Floyd in the US and have increased scrutiny on company diversity. The Parker Review, a government review looking at ethnic and cultural diversity on boards, warned in 2020 that UK companies are making slow progress on the issue.
It found that more than half of FTSE 350 firms did not have at least one director of colour with mid-cap companies the biggest offenders.