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 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 and customers
  • We recognise the privilege of being entrusted with our clients' money.

Demonstrating a desire to deliver quality outcomes to customers:

  • 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.

Columbia Threadneedle was proud to win the 2016
Diversity Award from Better Society Awards

We believe the asset management industry has a real opportunity to be a driving force for diversity in financial services. At a time when individual investors face increasing challenges, our industry needs a broad mix of experience, ideas and opinions to help us understand and deliver the financial outcomes our customers expect.

In EMEA we have made good progress in improving diversity and inclusion as a whole and gender representation in particular. We recognise that disclosure is an important step towards improvement and in 2015 were the first European asset manager to disclose our gender diversity data. In March 2016 we were proud to be the first asset manager to sign HM Treasury's Women in Finance Charter, a pledge for gender balance across financial services. As a Charter signatory, we pledge to support gender diversity in the following ways.

Accountability - Mark Burgess, Chief Investment Officer EMEA and Global Head of Equities, has overall accountability for improving gender diversity and inclusion in EMEA. Mark is member of the EMEA Business Management Committee, ensuring accountability at the most senior level.

Values and rewards - 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. We look at diversity and inclusion as part of the value of Respect and for each employee, including the senior executive team, there is an explicit link to annual incentive rewards.

Aspirational targets - We have set target ranges for female representation in each of the categories set out below. We believe targets are an important statement of intent and provide a tangible goal to work towards, recognising our current position. We seek to achieve visible change towards the target range for each category on a year-by-year basis, and are pleased to have made material progress in the past three years.

 2018 target rangeDec 2016Dec 2015Dec 2014Dec 2013
% women on company Board[1]30% - 40%33%22%22%13%
% women on Business Management Committee (Exec Co)30% - 50%29%24%11%8%
% women in senior management (Executive Director level)20% - 40%20%19%16%11%
% women investment professionals30% - 50%29%28%29%21%
% women employees in total30% - 50%36%37%37%35%

Our employee-led Diversity and Inclusion Group champions best practice to ensure a workplace culture that reflects the diversity of our clients and employees. Initiatives introduced include:

  • Education and training, including unconscious bias training
  • Recruitment guidelines to ensure both male and female representation on candidate lists, and advance more qualified women to the interview phase
  • Working arrangements, for example best practice guidelines for working from home
  • Mentoring to support career progression for more junior and mid-level employees
  • The ability to purchase additional holidays, supporting more flexible working.

We 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 20 people to the firm via 2020.

Columbia Threadneedle Investments is proud to be part of The Diversity Project, an industry initiative aiming 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 believe that recognisable and measurable progress can be achieved over the Project’s five year timeframe. We aim to achieve diversity across all dimensions, including gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, LGBTI+, age and disability.

We carry out an annual Employee Engagement Survey, and in 2016 82% of EMEA employees participated. Our survey scores reinforce the strong employee engagement that we strive to maintain and we consistently outperform competitor benchmarks across the majority of categories:

  • 94% said 'In my department we consistently focus on doing the highest quality work'
  • 92% said 'There is a strong emphasis on client service in my department'
  • 92% said 'My leader treats me with respect'
  • 93% said 'Columbia Threadneedle Investments conducts business in an ethical manner'
  • 92% said 'My leader demonstrates honest and ethical behaviour'
  • 91% said 'Columbia Threadneedle Investments strives to put customers and clients at the heart of our business’.

Talent development is a priority at all levels in EMEA, reflected by year-on-year increases to our training budget from 2012 through to 2016. All employees have the opportunity to attend a wide range of skills training workshops, including client relationship management skills training, product and markets training, core professional skills training and leadership training.

Throughout 2015/16 we focused on embedding leadership and management training for all Executives, our most senior employees. In 2016 this was extended to all Directors, our next most senior group. The training includes self-awareness and personal effectiveness, understanding team dynamics and motivating teams to deliver high performance, and collaboration across the organisation.

We host a range of conferences, events and networks for our employees to support education, collaboration and personal development across departments and at all levels.

Olympic medal winners Alistair and Jonny Brownlee join employees to host our own "Question of Sport" quiz

GB Women’s Hockey team members Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh share their Rio 2016 experience at an employee conference

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
  • 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
  • Support for employee teams to take part in the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds. Our sponsorship of the triathlon reflects our values and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle – triathlon is the UK's fastest growing participation sport and is one of the few sports to promote male and female participation on an equal basis.

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. This year’s volunteering programme has included:

  • RedStart financial education days for young people, covering saving, budgeting, investing, pensions and managing debt
  • Arts-based workshops at Mall Galleries, with groups facing disabilities and other challenges
  • 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.

We also participate in company-wide International Day of Service events to support individuals who struggle with hunger. Activities include serving hot breakfast to homeless men and women at the Whitechapel Mission and helping to organise food supplies, collecting and delivering food for City Harvest, a charity that redistributes surplus food in London to those who desperately need it.