We strive to be a values-led organisation that attracts, develops and retains the best talent.
We have a fiduciary duty to our clients as managers of their financial assets. Our commitment to our clients is reflected in our Values and in the Code of Conduct which all employees formally sign, acknowledging how we must always act. We expect to be held accountable to our Values, as set out below, in all we do.
Our Values and Code of Conduct
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.
We think strategically and creatively to drive innovation in order to best serve our clients and other stakeholders.
We operate at the highest standards to deliver excellent results and manage risk for our stakeholders and the company.
We are ethical, principled, respectful, collaborative and inclusive. We support our communities.
We actively identify opportunities to improve and are accountable for earning and keeping our stakeholders’ trust.
Our Global Code of Conduct includes adherence to specific client-related standards:
- Demonstrating a desire to deliver quality outcomes to clients:
- 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.
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.
Ensuring a diverse and inclusive culture
Increasing inclusivity and diversity throughout our employee population is one of our strategic imperatives. Our employee-led Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group has been in place since 2013. Reporting to the CEO and regional Executive Committee, the Group champions best practice to ensure a workplace culture that reflects the diversity of our clients and employees. As a result, the following initiatives are now embedded:
- Education and training, including unconscious bias training for all hiring managers.
- Recruitment guidelines to ensure both male and female representation on candidate lists and advance more qualified women to the interview phase
- For senior hires, at least one woman must be part of the interview panel
- All recruitment, by gender, is reported to the regional Executive Committee each quarter
- Improved flexible working, maternity and paternity policies
- Active promotion of shared parental leave, encouraging male employees to take advantage of the opportunity
- Flexible working arrangements, for example best practice guidelines for working from home
- The ability to purchase additional holidays, supporting more flexible working
- Mentoring to support career progression for more junior and mid-level employees
- Support for and participation in industry-wide returners programmes
- Regular employee events with internal and external speakers to showcase successful, diverse role models.
Gender balance: our path to 50/50
Columbia Threadneedle signed the Women in Finance Charter (WIFC) in March 2016, becoming a founding signatory and the first asset manager to sign the Charter. Since then we have worked to implement changes that drive improved gender balance across our EMEA business. We actively measure gender balance initiatives and report to senior management on a regular basis to ensure we continue to make progress. We have a robust gender action plan based on four strategic pillars of our broader diversity and inclusion blueprint:
- Build inclusive leadership skills of employees through training and awareness.
- Strengthen our pipeline of female leaders with continued focus on development and engagement.
- Maintain focus on recruitment of female talent.
- Leverage community partnerships to engage internal and external stakeholders.
Our key gender data is presented in our KPI table and our annual WIFC progress reports and full gender pay gap reports can be found in the column on the left.
Smart Working is our approach to working flexibly across EMEA. Flexible working has been proven to boost well-being and morale, increase productivity and enhance job satisfaction and retention. Smart Working covers any type of working arrangement that gives some degree of flexibility on how long, where and when work is performed. Flexible working can vary in shape and form, from a formal contractual flexible working pattern to informal, infrequent working arrangements.
Smart Working can allow an individual to pursue a hobby or interest, enable time for school runs or nursery drop-offs, support the ability to care for elderly relatives or simply provide a different work/life balance. We believe employees who can work smartly will be less stressed, feel more valued and trusted by the company and will therefore be more inclined to stay and progress their careers with us over the long-term.
Black Employee Network
In 2019 our Black Employee Network (BEN) was launched. BEN EMEA is a community of Black professionals offering its members resources and strategies to enhance and promote personal and professional growth whilst contributing to our overall success. BEN is an open and inclusive network and its impact and success is dependent on the support and engagement of all employees. BEN has four pillars of focus with initiatives and events designed to deliver:
- Employee engagement and professional development – building business, leadership and networking skills.
- Business support – bringing greater support and awareness to business initiatives across the region.
- Community involvement – supporting and developing partnerships which support the Black community.
- Cultural awareness – building a community among network members and employees and raising awareness of Black culture in the UK.
Attracting, engaging and developing our people
Investment management is a people business and we recognise that our 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. By creating an inclusive environment that values fresh ideas from a variety of backgrounds, demands input and commends teamwork, we leverage the diverse skills and perspectives of our people to generate our best investment thinking and business results. We are committed to supporting individuals who have taken a career break and are looking to return to the workplace for all our roles.
We support our employees with continuous development opportunities, both specific to their role and in other areas, through our talent development programmes. Our Talent Advisory Group comprises senior managers from across the business and oversees the career development of our employees, ensuring they are given the training, opportunities and tools they need, within the right culture, to excel. We have fostered a culture of idea sharing, collaboration and debate that is an integral part of our highly successful investment process and our success as a business. This is underpinned by our values of Client focus, Excellence, Integrity and Respect. We strive to deliver the best outcomes for our stakeholders and in our most recent employee engagement survey 89% said ‘In my department, we are committed to exceeding our client/business partner expectations’.
Health and wellbeing
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
- Weekly mindfulness and meditation sessions open to all employees
- 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
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.
In 2019 over 300 Columbia Threadneedle employees volunteered, working with a wide range of charities and community organisations:
- Preparing hot meals for the homeless with Ace of Clubs.
- Planting more than 400 trees in London with Trees for Cities.
- Hosting fun-packed activity days with Manorfield Primary School learning about teamwork and enterprise.
- Organising sports days for teenagers with Access Sport including BMX cycling and hockey games in Olympic Park.
- Supporting over 250 under-11s to learn how to code with the Institute of Imagination.
- Providing much needed maintenance and gardening support for Thrive and Stepney City Farm