NETHERLAND – Robeco, the €189bn Dutch asset manager, has won this year’s Golden Stiletto Award.

The Golden Stiletto is awarded by the Dutch Association for Women in Institutional Pensions (VIIP) to recognise organisations that help promote the position of women in the institutional pensions and investment industry, and that have made efforts to appoint women on boards and supervisory and management positions in the sector.

The judges panel, chaired by former Dutch minister of housing, zoning and environmental policy Sybilla Dekker, was particularly impressed by Robeco’s “playful approach” to fostering gender diversity.

According to Dekker, this approach fits with the company’s culture.

Judges praised Robeco’s “thoughtful and practical implementation” of diversity targets, including the asset manager’s efforts to involve men within the organisation in the process.

In a first response, Robeco chief executive Roderick Munsters said it was not only “more fun” to work with women, but that organisations that had women in top positions also tended to achieve better returns.

Despite the accolades, the judges – comprising Toine van der Stee, chief executive at Blue Sky Group; Onno Verstegen, member of the board at Delta Lloyd; and continuing education consultant Sandra Smits of MensenWerk for VIIP – recommended Robeco make haste in appointing women to their client teams.

The two other candidates nominated for the award – the Dutch trade union Abvakabo FNV and the Achmea Pension Fund – also received praise.

Abvakabo will not fill positions until a suitable female candidate is found.

Judges called this example of perseverance impressive but felt that men’s involvement in realising diversification within the organisation was unclear.

The panel recommended that, going forward, the union apply the same perseverance in this regard.  

The Achmea pension scheme has only just started implementing diversity goals in its hiring, and already the scheme has come a long way, according to the judges.

However, the panel recommended the fund move beyond “mere ambition” to formulate quantitative targets.

The annual Golden Stiletto was awarded for the second time this year.

The award is intended to further VIIP’s objective of increasing the “visibility” of women in the institutional pensions industry.

Presently, women fill just 10% of executive positions, including trustee board, supervisory and executive management positions in the industry.

VIIP, which has 220 members, strives for a percentage of “at least” 30%.

Last year’s award was won by TKP Investments.