Saturday, May 26, 2012

USA: pressure from pension funds on corporate diversity policy

The administrator of the pension fund of the City of New York, shareholders of publicly traded large groups, is campaigning for greater diversity in the workplace.Message received at Goldman Sachs and Metlife.
The managers of five pension funds in New York are pushing the agenda of diversity in large listed companies. Goldman Sachs and insurance giant Metlife life and have promised to publish the statistics in the spring of their group on sex and race of their employees.Demand of pension funds was initiated by John Liu, the Financial Controller of the City of New York, who is also director of New York City Employees 'Retirement System, the pension funds of city officials, the Teachers' Retirement System, the Teachers Fund, New York City Police Pension Fund, the fund police, New York City Fire Department pension fund, the fund for firefighters and ultimately the Board of Education Retirement System, the funding of educational administrators .. . These organizations together manage more than $ 118 billion. And they have significant shares in Fortune 500, the 500 largest publicly traded U.S. companies.
Poor figures
In total, five pension funds accumulate 1.2 million shares of Goldman Sachs and 2.3 million shares at Metlife. These institutional investors are powerful enough to attract the attention of large groups of the New York Stock Exchange ... and try to influence their strategy. Hence the spotlight on diversity in business. "  Many companies say they are making efforts to recruit, retain and promote women and minorities  , "said John Him. "  But without statistical figures, shareholders can not assess the effectiveness of these efforts.  "The Controller of the City of New York decided to more closely follow the strategy pursued by the major financial industry and advertising Two sectors traditionally laggards on diversity.John Liu cites statistics from the Government Accountability Office: 64% of management positions in finance are held by white men.Women hold only 27% of these positions and minorities less than 10%. The black frames are just 2.8% in finance, 3% Hispanics and Asians 3.5%. And the gap between white and minority men has not changed in 15 years.
The advertising industry is not better off. A 2009 survey by the firm Bendick and Egan concludes that the gap between minorities and the other is twice as high as 30 years ago! 16% of large advertising agencies have no part coming from the black community. And young black students who start their career in this industry earn an average 80 cents for every dollar pocketed by their white counterparts. With these statistics, the managers of pension funds have decided to focus on some great values ​​in finance and advertising in which they hold shares. Finance side, they turned to Goldman Sachs, and MetLife insurance leader AIG (1,134,000 shares). Advertising side, they have set their sights on Omnicom (708,906 titles), Interpublic (1,682,000 shares), WPP (1,398,000 shares) and French Publicis (555,528 titles).
Publication of statistics on diversity
Objective: to publish statistics on the company's origin, gender and job type. These data are already collected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and sent to the government. But the public does not have access. The directions of Goldman Sachs and Metlife have decided to play the transparency.Statistics from Goldman Sachs will be published on the Internet in June's report Environment, Social and Governance.
The site of Metlife, will grow well in the spring of diversity data. The AIG has not yet given an answer, but discussions are ongoing. The financial players seem to want to play the game "We have made ​​steady progress over time, says Frans Hijkoop, the human resources manager at Metlife. And we want to continue on our progress in promoting diversity. "
Advertising agencies, however, resist the call controller. John He will then vote on his proposal at the next annual shareholder meeting of the American group Omnicom, a San Francisco May 22
The administrator of the pension funds of New York officials want to advance the cause through shareholder activism. A few weeks before its proposal on diversity, he pleaded for more independence in boards. He has asked the cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris International and pharmaceutical group Mylan, generic specialist, to separate the positions of Chairman of the Board and CEO of the company. Independence and diversity are the two main topics of the moment.

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