Women in Finance Charter update

Aberdeen Asset Management PLC and Standard Life plc were delighted to be among the first signatories to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter in 2016, pledging to increase gender balance in our senior management populations and across our industry. Since then, we merged to form Standard Life Aberdeen plc and will be setting target ranges to reflect our combined company commitments. These will be published by 31 December 2017.

Today we are sharing the progress made by each company up to the point when we became a merged entity in August this year. The details of our targets and commitments are below.

We've also published further information about the actions we have put in place to date and our future plans.

Our joint-CEOs commented on our progress to date:

Keith Skeoch, CEO (formerly CEO, Standard Life plc)

“In signing this Charter we took an important step towards our goal of creating a diverse leadership population and talent pipeline. While there have been significant changes to our senior leadership team population during the last year, in response to significant organisational changes, we remain committed to continuing to make progress in line with the targets we have set and to developing combined targets for Standard Life Aberdeen plc.

Over the last few months we have deepened our understanding of how we can continue to take positive steps to break down barriers where they exist. I am personally committed to the actions we are taking and to working across our industry to make a sustained difference.”

Martin Gilbert, CEO (formerly CEO, Aberdeen Asset Management PLC)

“We are determined to improve on our gender balance. We have a sound basis for progress to date but we are committed to doing more.

It’s crucial that the industry should recruit and promote women as a commercial strategy, not a box-ticking exercise. Financial services firms need women in leadership positions because overwhelming evidence has shown that diversity of thought improves performance.

As well as focusing on leadership we are also considering entry level talent and are delighted to be supporting the 'HerCapital' programme, which will help promote the asset industry as a whole and the career opportunities it offers. In general, the industry has lagged behind other professional services sectors in attracting and marketing itself to women undergraduates.

I’m a firm believer in the benefits diverse teams can bring to a business, and supporting programmes such as 'HerCapital', as well as signing up to initiatives such as the Women in Finance Charter, illustrates  our engagement in helping to transform the gender balance and encouraging more women to consider asset management as a career. “

Aberdeen Asset Management PLC

Over the last 12 months, we have made some positive steps in increasing female representation across Aberdeen Asset Management PLC. We know there is more that we can do to ensure we attract, develop and promote talented people into and throughout our organisation, so that we have good representation at every level.

Our commitments

In October 2016 we set the following targets:



Position at 1 September 2016

Position at 11 August 2017

By September 2022

42- 45% of our UK employees will be female



By September 2022

Increase global female representation at senior management level to between 31-33%



By September 2022

47% of our global  population will be female, with a variance of 2%



As illustrated above we have seen an increase in terms of our overall percentage of female employees in the UK, but our figures have remained static globally. Female representation at the global senior management level has reduced and this can in part be attributed to structural changes within our Americas region. An expansion in the executive management team was undertaken in an effort to strengthen the operating model which has resulted in a number of reporting line changes, having an impact on our senior management representation figures.

Since signing the charter we have introduced a number of programmes and initiatives to enhance our gender representation across all levels of our business, however given the infancy of these programmes  the benefits of these are yet to be fully realised.

Our senior management population is defined for reporting purposes as: the Group Management Board and their direct reports.

Andrew Laing Deputy CEO is the senior executive member who has been responsible and accountable for gender diversity across Aberdeen Asset Management PLC.

We are progressing with our commitments to link Executive Director pay to deliver against our gender diversity targets. To date this has not been completed due to the undertaking of an interim compensation review, which is very much an exception, as a result of our recent merger. We will however ensure the link to executive pay is made over the next 12 months for future compensation reviews.

Standard Life plc

For the last few years Standard Life has had a particularly strong focus on promoting inclusive employment and to providing an environment which attracts a diversity of talent, where all our people can be themselves and reach their potential. We view inclusion in the broadest sense – in people’s backgrounds, experiences, strengths and thinking – which we know leads to stronger decision-making, innovation and ultimately performance.

We are delighted that this focus, led by Sandy Begbie as our Executive sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion, resulted in Standard Life plc being ranked 4th in the UK Social Mobility Index, recognising our ongoing commitment to promote social mobility and inclusion, and that our six thriving employee networks continue to receive external accreditation for their work to support the diverse needs of our people.

Gender is a key part of our Inclusion Strategy. We made commitments in October 2016 and to enable us to move forward we actively set out to get a better understanding of the opportunities we have to make significant improvements to our gender diversity at the most senior levels. We’ve made good progress in growing a sustainable gender balanced talent pipeline - 38% of our future talent pool considered capable of operating at the Executive Committee level in 3 years plus is female – and we have committed to further actions over the next 12 months to ensure we are supporting our pipeline of talent to reach the most senior levels of the organisation.

Our commitments

In October 2017 we set progressive target ranges for our leadership population to represent the gender split of our workforce (currently 48% female) by the end of 2025. Our representation over the last few months has remained broadly stable as we have gone through a period of significant organisational change and, although we are disappointed not to have made the progress we anticipated, as we move forward following our merger with Aberdeen Asset Management we remain committed to improving the gender balance in our leadership population.


Target range set

Position at 31 October 2016

Position at 11 August 2017

By September 2017

26-30% leadership population will be female



By September 2021

30-35% leadership population will be female



Our leadership population includes those currently holding senior positions – defined as those reporting to the CEO (CEO-1) and their direct reports (CEO-2) as well as in our Senior Leadership Team who hold roles of strategic importance.

Delivery against these target ranges have been included in the executive scorecards alongside a number of additional diversity and other employee related metrics. The Remuneration Committee will consider these when finalising our Executive remuneration for 2017.

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