Helena Morrissey on Diversity Driving Company Performance

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Helena Morrissey

The CFA Institute European Investment Conference is a focused, interactive conference for Europe’s leading investment professionals. The 2017 CFA Institute European Investment Conference will bring portfolio managers, analysts, chief investment officers, and CEOs together in Berlin on 16–17 November.

Helena Morrissey, CEO at Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club, thinks that U.K. corporate boards are overlooking an important source of profitable growth: their own members. Morrissey has noted the link between better corporate performance and gender diversity on corporate boards, using it to advocate for a voluntary, business-led change to increase the number of women board members in the United Kingdom.

The gender imbalance in corporate boards in the United Kingdom and other countries can be addressed either internally, through company initiatives, or by external regulatory requirements, such as quotas. Morrissey has frequently spoken out in opposition to quotas for board membership, stating that quotas undermine the principle of equality and are patronizing to women.

In a July 2013 opinion piece in the Telegraph, “Enough Is Enough — Let’s Leave the EU,” Morrissey used board membership quotas as an example of the “top down, command-and-control, one-size-fits-all approach to business and politics” in the European Union, questioning its ability to effect change.

Morrissey’s approach, pushing for internally driven change within the United Kingdom’s business community, has gained a number of prominent supporters. Sir Winfried Bischoff, chairman of Lloyds Banking Group PLC, was one of the earliest company chairs to commit to the 30% Club’s goal of having at least 30% senior female leaders at his company.

Just as investors can benefit from diversifying their portfolios to reduce risk and being better positioned to capture returns, companies can benefit from having a diversity of perspectives on their senior management team. In her presentation at the 2013 Investor Relations Society conference, Morrissey explained that investors are seeking forward-looking companies that understand how consumers will behave in the future. And companies with uniform, “retro-looking” management teams have difficulty convincing those investors that they have the necessary perspective.

At the Sixth Annual CFA Institute European Investment Conference in London, Morrissey gave a presentation on putting investors first as a means of restoring trust in the investment industry.

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One Response to Helena Morrissey on Diversity Driving Company Performance

  1. Mr Brendan says:

    CFA is the best institute

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