Top U.K. Money Manager to Reject Boards That Lack Diversity

Legal & General Group Plc’s investment arm will vote against certain senior appointments at FTSE 100 and S&P 500 companies if they fail to include ethnic minorities on their board.

The asset manager wants to see at least one Black, Asian or other ethnic minority on the board at major U.K. and U.S. firms by January 2022, according to the newsletter from Legal & General Investment Management. If there isn’t any such representation, L&G will vote against appointments to chair the board and nomination committee.

“The horrifying killing of George Floyd and so many others has led many institutional investors to think much more seriously about structural racism and inequality,” LGIM wrote. “We believe asset managers must go further. Now is the time for action.”

As the U.K.’s biggest money manager with around 1.2 trillion pounds ($1.6 trillion) of assets, Legal & General’s warnings carry some heft. The firm owns stakes in many of the biggest U.K. and U.S. firms and has previously vowed to vote against companies that lacked women on boards.

Floyd’s death prompted collective demands for action from the financial world, with Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo & Co. vowing to elevate Black executives. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has required more bias training; JPMorgan Chase & Co. has expanded its mentoring programs; and Bank of America Corp. has pledged money to fight inequality.

The L&G letter was first reported by The Times.

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