For several years, BMO Global Asset Management has placed great emphasis on gender diversity via multiple avenues, including: internal initiatives and targets, supporting industry groups such as Catalyst and the 30% Club. In a natural evolution of our commitment, BMO launched a Canadian fund in 2016 focussing on Women in Leadership.
Our activities in 2018
In 2018, we discussed gender diversity with companies or their boards on over 200 occasions. We are also prepared to use our voting power: we believe that all boards should include at least one female board member, and we take voting action against the Nomination Committee Chairs in certain markets if minimum thresholds of female representation are not met or companies do not demonstrate satisfactory improvement.
For example, the UK market has had a significant focus on gender diversity since the Davies Review made a set of recommendations for improvement in 2011. This has led us to take a particularly stringent voting policy in the UK, whereby we expect FTSE 100 companies to have at least 30% female board representation. 2018 also saw us introduce voting guidelines to support gender diversity in the Canadian and the US markets.