Responsible Investment

What lies beneath: how diversity drives value

By Karin Halliday
Senior Manager, Corporate Governance Sydney, Australia

At AMP Capital, we have long understood there are substantial benefits from looking beyond the financial statements when valuing a company. We believe environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors can have a greater impact on an asset’s value than tangible items such as property, plant and equipment.

Within that framework, we believe diversity is one of the key intangible issues that investors must consider. Not only is it right for us to factor diversity into our thinking, it’s also smart and necessary. Our view is that company value is driven by the people within the business, so teams that are happy, engaged and cognitively diverse help support their firm’s valuation.

Building diverse teams is one way to generate different ideas to take the business forward. It is also a way to address the complex problems the world is facing; a way of generating different ideas to solve long-standing problems. Diversity of thought allows businesses to widen the aperture of their lens so they can truly consider different ideas and ensure the firm is not vision-impaired.

When discussing diversity, the first thing that comes to mind for many is gender, and while diversity isn’t just about gender, it’s a good place to start. Research shows when women are part of decision-making groups, they have a greater emphasis on ethics, risk and reputation management, while men are more tactical and factual1. Additionally, statistics show companies perform better when there are a higher percentage of women in senior leadership positions2.

Discussions around gender diversity have been part of the corporate landscape for decades, so it’s easy to be complacent about this subject. In fact, we’re unlikely to take action personally unless one of a number of different situations occurs: you experience prejudice, you confront your biases or you observe the effect of discrimination in the workplace on a family member.

The personal perspective notwithstanding, there are many opportunities for companies to explore diversity in novel ways. This starts with examining their current position, followed by establishing, implementing and measuring the success of the diversity policies the business implements. Ultimately, the goal is to reach a position at which women and minorities receive unconditional acceptance in the company.

While in the past diversity may have been considered a problem to solve, flipping this and viewing it as an opportunity can produce excellent results for businesses and their investors. Companies that do this are expected to trade at a premium, delivering benefits for their staff, shareholders and sector.

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Important notes

While every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, AMP Capital Investors (UK) Limited, Registered Office at Companies House, 4th Floor Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BX (no. 05524536) makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of any statement in it including, without limitation, any forecasts. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. This article has been prepared for the purpose of providing general information, without taking account of any particular investor’s objectives, financial situation or needs. An investor should, before making any investment decisions, consider the appropriateness of the information in this article, and seek professional advice, having regard to the investor’s objectives, financial situation and needs. This article is solely for the use of the party to whom it is provided.

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