State Street’s “Fearless Girl” was more than symbolic



Since the $2.6 trillion asset manager installed a bronze statue of a girl staring down the Wall Street bull, the firm has actually stared down companies lacking gender diversity on their boards.

The Boston-based firm has voted against the re-election of the chair or other senior members of male-only boards 400 times so far in 2017, reports Bloomberg. “In some cases we had to agree to disagree and in some cases we got commitments to enhance board quality by increasing diversity,” said State Street’s Rakhi Kumar. “We will work with companies, but of course not forever.”

Kumar said research shows companies with diverse boards perform well. (Peer reviewed studies on the subject cast doubt on that proposition, however; listen to ImpactAlpha’s podcast, “What’s the value of gender diversity, anyway?”)

The world’s biggest asset manager, BlackRock, has said it it has supported nine out of 10 shareholder proposals to increase board diversity this year and voted against nominations at five companies with male-only boards.

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