State Street Global Advisors Expands Board Diversity Guidance to Companies in Japan and Canada
Welcomed as Associate Member of Responsible Investment Association for Focus on ESG Investing
BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--State Street Global Advisors, the asset management business of State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT), today announced that the $2.67 trillion asset manager will expand its guidance on corporate board diversity to the public companies in which it invests in Japan and Canada.
“As an asset manager, it’s our mission to collaborate and engage with companies, not simply impose our point of view, to help them realize the financial benefit of gender diverse leadership. There’s much work to be done and we look forward to applying our knowledge and experience to other countries.”
In March 2017, in conjunction with the installation of its ‘Fearless Girl’ statue on Wall Street, State Street Global Advisors sent letters to 600 companies in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia informing them that it would vote against the chair of their nominating committees if there were no female directors or candidates. Of those companies, State Street Global Advisors ultimately voted against 400 that had not initiated any efforts to increase board diversity since receiving the letter.
As a result of these efforts, 42 companies to date have committed to increasing the diversity of their boards and seven have already added women to their boards.
“The data shows that all other things being equal, companies with gender-diverse boards also have stronger long-term financial performance,” said Ron O’Hanley, president and chief operating officer of State Street. “Amongst major asset owners and managers, more than $15 trillion in shareholder assets have been committed to increasing gender diversity on corporate boards since we placed ‘Fearless Girl’, and this expansion to Canada and Japan will further these efforts to drive better long-term performance and returns for investors.”
Fifty-five percent of companies in Japan’s Topix 500 and 40 percent of the 700 companies in the Toronto Stock Exchange do not have any woman on their boards. State Street Global Advisors’ goal for 2018 is to provide board diversity guidance to more than 1,200 companies in these two countries.
“We’ll continue to prioritize and emphasize the critical importance of responsible investing in portfolios,” said Rakhi Kumar, head of ESG Investments & Asset Stewardship at State Street Global Advisors. “As an asset manager, it’s our mission to collaborate and engage with companies, not simply impose our point of view, to help them realize the financial benefit of gender diverse leadership. There’s much work to be done and we look forward to applying our knowledge and experience to other countries.”
O’Hanley referenced the expansion of State Street’s guidelines in his address at the 2017 Breakfast of Corporate Champions, hosted by the Women’s Forum of New York in New York City. The event, which brought together more than 600 CEOs, board directors, government officials and influential media, salutes companies with at least 25 percent of board seats held by women. State Street was applauded as a corporate game changer making special efforts to advance women in the boardroom.
Separately State Street Global Advisors announced that it has become an Associate Member of the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) in Canada.
“We are pleased to welcome State Street Global Advisors as an Associate Member of the RIA,” said Deb Abbey, CEO of the RIA. “We applaud their commitment to responsible investing and their focus on gender diversity. We look forward to working together in our ongoing effort to advance the integration of ESG criteria into Canadians’ investment decisions.”
The RIA is Canada’s industry association dedicated to advancing responsible investment, which refers to the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the selection and management of investments. RIA membership has grown rapidly in recent years as investors increasingly seek investments that align with their values and manage exposure to ESG risks and opportunities.
“We are excited to become a member of the RIA, and to further the support and advancement of ESG integration in the Canadian marketplace,” said Peter Lindley, president of State Street Global Advisors Canada. “RIA is a recognized leader in the Canadian market and we look forward to working with them and other member organizations to collectively advance responsible investing in Canada.”
About State Street Global Advisors
For nearly four decades, State Street Global Advisors has been committed to helping financial professionals and those who rely on them achieve their investment objectives. We partner with institutions and financial professionals to help them reach their goals through a rigorous, research-driven process spanning both active and index disciplines. We take pride in working closely with our clients to develop precise investment strategies, including our pioneering family of SPDR ETFs. With trillions* in assets under management, our scale and global footprint provide access to markets and asset classes, and allow us to deliver expert insights and investment solutions.
State Street Global Advisors is the investment management arm of State Street Corporation.
* Assets under management were $2.67 trillion as of September 30, 2017. AUM reflects approx. $36 billion (as of September 30, 2017) with respect to which State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC (SSGA FD) serves as marketing agent; SSGA FD and State Street Global Advisors are affiliated.
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