We strive to be a values-led organisation that attracts, develops and retains the best talent.
Our Values and Code of Conduct
We have a fiduciary duty to our clients as managers of their financial assets. Our commitment to our clients is reflected in our Values and in the Code of Conduct which all employees formally sign, acknowledging how we must always act. We expect to be held accountable to our Values, as set out below, in all we do.
- Client focus:
We think strategically and creatively to drive innovation in order to best serve our clients and other stakeholders.
We operate at the highest standards to deliver excellent results and manage risk for our stakeholders and the company.
We are ethical, principled, respectful, collaborative and inclusive. We support our communities.
We actively identify opportunities to improve and are accountable for earning and keeping our stakeholders’ trust.
Our Global Code of Conduct includes adherence to specific client-related standards:
- Demonstrating a desire to deliver quality outcomes to clients:
- We strive to deliver outstanding client service through collaboration with others and maximising contributions.
- We are committed to building professional relationships to enable best outcomes.
- Everything we do is for our clients.
- Demonstrating a quality service to clients by effectively managing firm-wide risk:
- We actively consider the client’s best interests at all times.
- We recognise that risk management is everyone’s responsibility.
- We actively manage conflicts appropriately seeking best results and collaborating effectively for the benefit of our clients. Every employee’s performance is measured against our Values of Client Focus, Excellence, Integrity and Respect, with the Values reflected in appraisal and personal development plans, and an explicit link to our annual incentive reward cycle. This ensures we are rewarded not just for what we do, but how we do it.
Supporting employees throughout the pandemic
Columbia Threadneedle’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was coordinated regionally and globally to ensure we continued to deliver for our clients, support our employees and maintain continuity of our business.
Flexible working became paramount, with support provided to parents and care givers. We also moved to virtual delivery of regular training workshops and seminars, enhancing our offering with a range of webinars and other virtual events to support education, collaboration and personal development.
Ensuring a diverse and inclusive culture
Increasing inclusivity and diversity throughout our employee population is one of our strategic imperatives. By creating an inclusive environment that values fresh ideas from a variety of backgrounds, demands input and commends teamwork, we leverage the diverse skills and perspectives of our people to generate our best investment thinking and business results.
In 2020 our EMEA CEO, Nick Ring, led a review of our regional approach which resulted in an updated diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy and action plan, focusing on core areas of gender and ethnicity. In the same year we also adopted a global D&I framework. It further supports our regional D&I action plan and strategic objective to change the profile of our employee base over time by increasing the percentage of women, Black, ethnic and all underrepresented groups across every level of the organisation.
Supporting this effort is our employee-led Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group which has been in place since 2013. Reporting to the CEO and regional Executive Committee, the Group champions best practice to ensure a workplace culture that reflects the diversity of our clients and employees. As a result, the following initiatives are now embedded:
- Education and training, including unconscious bias training for all hiring managers.
- Recruitment guidelines to ensure selection and hiring processes are inclusive with a focus on achieving balanced representation on candidate lists and throughout the process.
- For senior hires, at least one woman must be part of the interview panel.
- Improved maternity and paternity policies.
- Active promotion of shared parental leave, encouraging male employees to take advantage of the opportunity.
- The ability to purchase additional holidays, supporting more flexible working.
- Mentoring to support career progression for more junior and mid-level employees.
- Support for and participation in industry-wide returners programmes.
- Regular employee events with internal and external speakers to showcase successful, diverse role models.
- Employee Networks: Pride & Allies (LGBT+), BEN (Black Employee Network) and Aloud (Women’s Network).
Columbia Threadneedle continues to partner with industry bodies including the Investment Association and The Diversity Project to share best practice and work collaboratively to improve diversity and inclusion within asset management.
Accelerating black inclusion
We were pleased to sponsor important research from think tank New Financial: Accelerating Black Inclusion – listening, learning, and taking action to increase racial diversity in senior roles across financial services. This unique research is a collaboration with the #TalkAboutBlack campaign, focusing on the progression of Black colleagues into leadership positions in the UK finance sector.
In 2021 we also welcomed two interns joining us via #10000BlackInterns, an initiative that aims to transform the prospects of young Black people in the UK. In partnership with firms from 24 different sectors, it offers 2,000 internships each year for five years across a range of business functions.
Our interns Emmanuelle Eze and Tolulola Abina worked with our London-based High Yield and US Equities desks for 12 weeks. Two Columbia Threadneedle team members also mentored interns joining other firms as part of the same programme.
Gender balance: our path to 50/50
Columbia Threadneedle signed the Women in Finance Charter (WIFC) in March 2016, becoming a founding signatory and the first asset manager to sign the Charter. Since then we have worked to implement changes that drive improved gender balance across our EMEA business. We actively measure gender balance initiatives and report to senior management on a regular basis to ensure we continue to make progress. We have a robust gender action plan based on four strategic pillars of our broader diversity and inclusion blueprint:
- Build inclusive leadership skills of employees through training and awareness.
- Strengthen our pipeline of female leaders with continued focus on development and engagement.
- Maintain focus on recruitment of female talent.
- Leverage community partnerships to engage internal and external stakeholders.
Our key gender data is presented in our KPI table. Our annual WIFC progress reports and full gender pay gap reports can be found below.
Innovative training course supports female talent
Attracting, engaging and developing our people
Investment management is a people business and we recognise that our success is due to our talented people who bring diverse and complementary skills and capabilities, working together to identify and develop the best ideas and opportunities for our clients. By creating an inclusive environment that values fresh ideas from a variety of backgrounds, demands input and commends teamwork, we leverage the diverse skills and perspectives of our people to generate our best investment thinking and business results. We are committed to supporting individuals who have taken a career break and are looking to return to the workplace for all our roles.
We support our employees with continuous development opportunities, both specific to their role and in other areas, through our talent development programmes. Our Talent Advisory Group comprises senior managers from across the business and oversees the career development of our employees, ensuring they are given the training, opportunities and tools they need, within the right culture, to excel. We have fostered a culture of idea sharing, collaboration and debate that is an integral part of our highly successful investment process and our success as a business. This is underpinned by our values of Client focus, Excellence, Integrity and Respect. We strive to deliver the best outcomes for our stakeholders and in our most recent employee engagement survey 89% said ‘In my department, we are committed to exceeding our client/business partner expectations’.