Responsible Employer

Corporate responsibility

Responsible Employer

We strive to be a values-led organisation that attracts, develops and retains the best talent

Investment management is a people business and we recognise that Columbia Threadneedle's 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. Our people are responsible for managing the financial assets of individuals and families, pension and sovereign wealth funds and corporations around the world. We have a fiduciary duty to our clients and customers as managers of their financial assets. This commitment to clients is reflected in our Code of Conduct which all employees formally sign, acknowledging how we must act at all times. Our Global Code of Conduct includes adherence to the following standards.

Delivering an outstanding client experience by exceeding expectations:

  • We create a culture of client focus across the firm
  • We listen and respond to our clients
  • We recognise the privilege of being entrusted with our clients' money.

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.

Working at Columbia Threadneedle Investments

In EMEA we have made good progress in improving diversity and inclusion as a whole and gender representation in particular. We know the financial services sector has work to do and we are committed to achieving lasting change.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Group has been in place since 2013. The Group, reporting to the CEO and regional Executive Committee, champions best practice to ensure a workplace culture that reflects the diversity of our clients and employees. Over the past five years it has successfully driven change, with the following initiatives now embedded:

  • Education and training, including unconscious bias training for all hiring managers
  • Recruitment guidelines to ensure both male and female representation on candidate lists and advance more qualified women to the interview phase
  • For senior hires, at least one woman must be part of the interview panel
  • All recruitment, by gender, is reported to the regional Executive Committee each quarter
  • Improved flexible working, maternity and paternity policies
  • Active promotion of shared parental leave, encouraging male employees to take advantage of the opportunity
  • Flexible working arrangements, for example best practice guidelines for working from home
  • 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.

The Diversity & Inclusion Group and the wider firm have taken a number of positive steps to improve diversity in our business, including holding a quarterly series of "Women in Leadership" discussions for employees. The aim of the series is to hear from a wide range of successful and inspiring female leaders about their stories.  Speakers in 2017 & 2018 have included:

  • Kay Swinburne, MEP
  • Dame Cilla Snowball, Group Chairman and Group Chief Executive of AMV BBDO
  • Debbie Hewitt, Non-Executive Chairman of Moss Bros Group plc, The Restaurant Group plc, fashion retailer White Stuff Limited and Visa UK
  • Dame Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV
  • Vin Murria, DBA, MBA, Partner at Elderstreet Investments Ltd
  • Lucy Perman, MBA, CEO of Clean Break


Women in Finance Charter

Women in Finance Charter

Columbia Threadneedle was one of seven founding signatories of HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter and the first asset manager to sign, pledging to support the progression of women into senior roles by setting concrete targets and deliverables.

Our first progress report under the Charter is available on our website.

As part of our advocacy efforts in 2017 we partnered with the think tank New Financial to produce two research reports: Counting Every Woman 2017, and Diversity from an Investor’s perspective. We were particularly pleased to see Columbia Threadneedle come top of the asset management sector for women on executive committees (at 40% representation), and among the top five for board level representation (with 33%) in the Counting Every Woman report.

We were proud to be named Employer of the Year at the 2017 Women in Finance Awards. The judges looked for companies with the most diversity amongst senior employees, the best maternity/paternity benefits, a proven track record in promoting diversity, and the most extensive diversity-supportive policies in recruitment and operations. We were also proud to receive the 2017 Gender Equality Award from Skytop Strategies and Supporting Excellence Award from Investment Week’s Women in Investment Awards 2017.

 2018 target rangeDec 2017Dec 2016Dec 2015Dec 2014
% women on company Board*30% - 40%40%33%22%22%
% women on Business Management Committee (Exec Co)30% - 50%40%29%24%11%
% women in senior management (Executive Director level)20% - 40%17%20%19%16%
% women investment professionals30% - 50%27%29%28%29%
% women employees in total30% - 50%36%36%37%37%

*Threadneedle Asset Management SARL


UK gender pay gap

March 2018 saw Columbia Threadneedle publish our first gender pay gap report under new UK legislation. We support gender pay gap reporting, recognising that disclosure is an important step towards improvement. Our key gender pay gap data is presented in the KPI table on page 3.

Our gender pay gap data reflects the fact that women hold fewer senior positions at Columbia Threadneedle, including in higher-paying specialist areas such as Investments and front-line Sales. Our analysis shows that our mean gender pay gap would reduce to 4.9% if we had the same number of men and women employed at each seniority level, across all areas of the business. Much of the bonus pay gap is also due to this under-representation of women. Asset management is a performance-led profession and the best managers can be easily identified and rewarded. Across the company we use a consistent balanced scorecard approach to determine incentive (i.e. bonus) amounts for employees at all levels.

It’s important to emphasise that gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay (which has been a legal requirement in the UK since 1970). Having undertaken thorough analysis of our data, we are confident that men and women across our business are paid on an equivalent basis for doing equivalent jobs.


Focus on inclusion

In 2017 we launched a Pride and Allies Network, an inclusive initiative for the LGBT+ community and their allies.

We also supported the Lord Mayor’s campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week, providing mental health training for senior managers, lunchtime talks from support organisations and promotion of support services and policies. Ongoing areas of focus include ethnic diversity, social mobility and agile working.

We are active members of a number of networks and external organisations. We continue to support Investment 2020, an initiative by leading UK investment firms to offer hundreds of young people from diverse backgrounds a first job in the City. Since 2013 we have welcomed 27 trainees to the firm via i2020. We also partner with SEO London to source talent from ethnic minority or low socio economic backgrounds. Five of seven entry level roles came via SEO London in 2017.

We are a member of The Diversity Project, an industry initiative to achieve a truly diverse and inclusive UK investment and savings industry with the right talent to deliver the best possible results for our clients and to reflect the society we serve.

We actively recruit and develop talented individuals with outstanding skills and expertise from diverse backgrounds to best meet the needs of our clients. Our focus is not solely based on technical ability. We look at individuals’ broader capabilities which might include language skills, knowledge of a regional market, awareness of cultural differences or sensitivities, or a specific understanding of our client base. The key is ensuring we have recruited the most talented and rounded individuals, in the most ethical and fair way.

We know that continued success depends on our ability to engage our people in a dynamic and challenging environment, that supports and inspires individual development and achievement. Throughout 2017 we continued to provide executive development, introducing training and team sessions for our senior leaders on Leading High Performing Teams. The training includes practical strategies to make team goals clear and appealing, a deeper understanding of what motivates individuals in the team and how to build commitment to ways of working for the whole team. To support our mid-level and new managers, management excellence training was highly recommended for all managers and we aim to reach 100% attendance by the end of 2018.

We carry out an annual Employee Engagement Survey, and in 2017 89% of EMEA employees participated. Our survey scores reinforce strong employee engagement and we consistently outperform competitor benchmarks across the majority of categories. For example:

  • 95% said ‘Columbia Threadneedle Investments is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen (e.g. charitable giving in communities, gift matching, volunteering)
  • 94% said ‘I know how to report suspected unethical business practices’
  • 93% said ‘In my department, we consistently focus on doing the highest quality work’
  • 92% said ‘Columbia Threadneedle Investments conducts business in an ethical manner’
  • 92% said ‘My leader demonstrates honest and ethical behaviour’.

We are committed to supporting our employees' health and wellbeing, including physical and mental health. In addition to regular health screening and a dedicated employee assistance programme, initiatives include:

  • Mandatory health and safety training, highlighting health and safety at work as well as mitigating actions employees can take to prevent excessive stress and other common mental health issues
  • Weekly mindfulness and meditation sessions open to all employees
  • Lunchtime workshops to promote the medical and wellness support on offer through our benefits programme
  • 'Lunch and learn' sessions highlighting the importance of mental health in families and providing tools that parents can use to help children through difficult situations

Around the world, employees of Ameriprise Financial including Columbia Threadneedle, generously donate their time and talents to volunteer service. In EMEA, employees are entitled to take at least one day for volunteering, with a full calendar of activities offered. We look for opportunities where the talent and professional expertise of our people can add support through skills-based and other volunteering projects, and where employees have the chance to develop new skills and network within the business, and for teams to collaborate more effectively across departments.

In 2017 we formed our fi rst Volunteering Committee with representatives from across the company, to support the growth of our employee volunteering programme. We held our inaugural ‘Volunteering Week’ to coincide with an International Day of Service held by our global organisation, Ameriprise Financial. Throughout the week we held several volunteering activities per day, organised food and clothing collections and hosted lunchtime presentations by charities we work with to raise awareness of the work they do.

“ My team and I served breakfast at Whitechapel Mission. Cooking and serving food to over 200 homeless persons was a greatly eye-opening and humbling experience. The team there are fantastic and it was a great opportunity to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I would encourage everyone to do it!”

James Rigg (volunteer for Whitechapel Mission’s Breakfast Challenge)

“ I really enjoyed volunteering with Thrive in Battersea Park. It was very relaxing to spend a hot and sunny day potting up seedlings with some of the volunteers and other colleagues from Columbia Threadneedle and it was great to meet people from across the business who I wouldn’t normally interact with. It was very rewarding at the end of the day to see how much we had all achieved as a team. I would defi nitely recommend this for anyone who wants to do an outside challenge and enjoys gardening.”

Colin Parfitt (volunteer for Thrive, Battersea Park)

The 2017 volunteering programme included:

  • Financial education days with various charities where employees deliver lessons for young people between 10-18, covering saving, budgeting, investing, pensions and managing debt
  • Maintaining the grounds, plants and animals at Spitalfields City Farm, an essential resource for local people and schools
  • Hosting seaside day trips for elderly members of St Hilda’s East, a vibrant community centre in East London.
  • Serving breakfast and lunch to over 200 homeless people through charities Whitechapel Mission and Acton Homeless Concern.

The Committee continues to find new opportunities to add to the 2018 programme.