The Investment Management Association has refused to back board quotas for women, arguing that appointments should be based on merit.
IMA director of corporate governance and reporting Liz Murrall says the most important thing for investors is that the board be effective and called for greater board diversity.
She says: “A diverse board allows for a cross-section of skills, ideas and experiences, making it better-equipped to develop the company in the long-term.
“However, we don’t support quotas. Board appointments should be on merit and not to fill quotas.
“The lack of women on boards is a symptom of their underrepresentation at senior levels from where board members are recruited.”
Murrall says quotas would not address underrepresentation at senior management levels and could alienate established board members.
She adds: “Nor should we forget that there is a need for better non-gender diversity – too many directors are accountants and lawyers, few of them having marketing or international experience.”