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IMDDA releases second annual survey on sexual harassment in investment management industry

Friday, June 07, 2019
Opalesque Industry Update - The Investment Management Due Diligence Association (IMDDA), an exclusive investor-based organization dedicated to the professionals who perform investment and operational due diligence programs, announced that it has begun its second annual survey of sexual harassment reporting in the investment management industry. Results are expected to be released in October 2019.

Us Too 2019: A Due Diligence Survey and Analysis on the Current State of Sexual Harassment in the Investment Management Industry, follows the ground-breaking IMDDA report first published in 2018 that spotlighted how institutional fund investors need to do a better job of identifying and handling sexual harassment concerns at the investment management firms thatthey allocate to on behalf of their beneficiaries.

Among the findings from the inaugural survey were that 90 percent of investors do not inquire about sexual harassment during fund manager due diligence, and three quarters would still consider an investment with a fund manager who has had issues with sexual harassment in the past.

"Us Too 2019 will show exactly what steps institutional investors have taken over the last year to better identify and respond to sexual harassment situations at the fund managers they work with," said Andrew Borowiec, Executive Director of the IMDDA.

The Us Too surveys define the risks of complacency on the issue and recommend ways that professional allocators can improve ODD to discover, respond to, and seek to prevent workplace harassment in its various forms - whenever and wherever it occurs.

Recapping the 2018 Report:

Global Institutional Investor Respondents 

In response to the rise of the #MeToo movement, the IMDDA commissioned the anonymous survey with institutional investors in the winter of 2018. In all, 78 investors completed the survey, representing endowments, pensions, insurance companies, private banks, and funds-of-funds.

The geographic breakdown of respondents was: 68% US/Canada, 25% Europe, 7%Asia/Australia.

Survey Highlights

• 89% of investors do not inquire about sexual harassment in the workplace.

• 76% of investors would still consider investing with a fund manager who has had issues with sexual harassment.

• 67% of investors limit background checks to only principals and senior staff.

• 36% of investors are not checking social media for red flags (e.g., inappropriate pictures and comments disparaging women), indicating harassment is likely not on their radar.

The risks of ignoring sexual harassment at investment management firms can be devastating for allocators. These risks include negative media coverage, reputational damage, tough questions and actions from investment committees, protests from beneficiaries, and allegations that professionals simply did not do their job.

In response to some of the concerning findings from the survey, the IMDDA provides recommendations on how investors can improve their ODD processes, including examining HR processes, asking why departures have happened, and interviewing former employees.

Click here to download the 2018 survey.

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