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More investors asking about sexual harassment records, IMDDA study finds

The number of professional investment allocators inquiring about an investment management firm's sexual harassment record during the fund manager due diligence process has increased, according to the results of a 2019 survey by the Investment Management Due Diligence Association, or IMDDA.

About 26% of the 78 participating investors said they asked money managers about sexual harassment, compared with 11% in the 2018 study. However, 9% of allocators said they would still invest with a manager with workplace sexual harassment issues, compared to 4% in the previous year's study.

Results of the survey also showed that 45% of due diligence professionals said they would investigate further if people decline to answer sexual harassment-related questions, compared with 18% in the 2018 survey.

IMDDA said allocators could face risks, such as negative media coverage, reputational damage, tough questions and actions from investment committees, protests from beneficiaries and allegations that professionals simply did not do their job, when sexual harassment at investment management firms are ignored.

Of the total number of respondents, 55% were from North America, 24% were from Europe, 9% were from Asia or Australia, and the remaining participating investors were from Africa, the Middle East and South America.