Pax World Funds Persuades Finance and Tech Companies to Close Gender Pay Gap

Sustainable Investment Firm Withdraws Pay Equity Shareholder Resolutions at Discover, HP and KeyCorp

Pax World Funds (Pax), a pioneer in sustainable investing advised by Impax Asset Management LLC, has successfully withdrawn pay equity shareholder resolutions at three companies in the financial services and technology sectors following their commitments to take proactive steps toward enhancing pay equity disclosure and to close unexplained pay gaps. Pax targeted companies in financial services and technology because these industries have among the highest gender pay gaps,[1] have struggled to attract, retain and promote female employees and are where women are more likely to leave at midcareer.[2]

In late 2017, Pax (https://paxworld.com) filed shareholder proposals at Discover Financial Services (Discover), HP, Inc (HP) and KeyCorp requesting that the companies identify whether a gender pay gap exists among their employees, and if so, outline steps being taken to reduce the gap. At the time of the filings, none of the companies had any public disclosure related to pay equity. Pax withdrew its proposals when the companies agreed to publish commitments to pay equity, alongside detailed information on their processes for managing pay equity. In addition, KeyCorp has published the results of its most recent pay analysis on its website.

The level of disclosure that will be provided by Discover, HP and KeyCorp, and their commitments to remediate unexplained pay gaps is significant, given that less than half of tech companies and just over a quarter of financial services companies make pay equity adjustments as part of their annual compensation review process.[3]

“This pay equity disclosure is more robust than what we have seen in the past and is a major step forward in the fight to close the pay gap,” said Heather Smith, Lead Sustainability Research Analyst, Impax Asset Management LLC/Pax World Funds. “We believe that companies that make clear commitments to achieving pay equity, like Discover, HP and KeyCorp, will be better positioned to attract and retain talented employees and achieve greater gender diversity.”

Since 2015, Pax has filed or co-filed fourteen shareholder resolutions on pay equity. So far, twelve companies have enhanced their pay equity disclosure, including Apple, eBay and Amazon. Pax has also written to 32 technology companies and 39 financial companies held across its mutual funds asking for information about how the companies are addressing pay equity and that they publicly disclose the results of a company pay analysis. And in February 2016, Pax Ellevate Management, a joint venture of Impax Asset Management LLC and Ellevate Asset Management, sent a petition for rulemaking to the SEC urging the agency to require public companies to disclose gender pay ratios on an annual basis.

“As investors, our goal is to understand how companies are managing pay equity and if they are taking the appropriate steps to reduce regulatory, reputational and litigation risks associated with pay inequities,” said Smith. “Companies that are successful in closing pay gaps and are transparent about their efforts will be well-positioned to make meaningful progress in narrowing the gender gaps in their talent pipelines, and by extension, the overall gender gap in the workforce.”

Additionally, Pax World Funds and Mercy Investment Services recently announced the results of a successful shareholder engagement with US Foods to improve its board diversity policies and take steps to diversify its board of directors. You can read more in the press release here.

 

About Pax World Funds

Pax World Funds (“Pax”) are advised by Impax Asset Management LLC, formerly Pax World Management LLC, a pioneer in the field of sustainable investing. Pax offers a diverse lineup of mutual funds focused on the risks and opportunities arising from the transition to a more sustainable global economy. Each fund integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) research into the investment process to better manage risk and deliver competitive long-term investment performance. Since 1971, Pax has made it possible for investors to pursue financial returns while having a positive social and environmental impact.

You should consider a fund’s investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses carefully before investing. For this and other information, call 800.767.1729 or visit www.paxworld.com for a fund prospectus and read it carefully before investing.

Pax World Funds are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. Member FINRA.

ALPS Distributors, Inc. is not affiliated with Mercy Investment Services.

Impax Asset Management LLC, formerly Pax World Management LLC, is investment adviser to Pax World Funds and a pioneer in the field of sustainable investing. We offer a diverse lineup of mutual funds and separate accounts focused on the risks and opportunities associated with the transition to a more sustainable global economy.

 

Article Notes:
[1] Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, “Demystifying the Gender Pay Gap,” Glassdoor, 2016.
[2] Mercer, “When Women Thrive: Financial Services Perspective,” 2016;
[3] Mercer, “When Women Thrive: Financial Services Perspective,” 2016; and Mercer, When Women Thrive, Technology Industry Perspective,” 2017.

Contact:
Heather Smith, Impax Asset Management LLC / Pax World Funds
Lead Sustainability Research Analyst & Portfolio Manager
Phone (603) 501-7351 or email – h.smith@impaxam.com

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