American International Group Inc. (AIG), the bailed-out insurer, rebuffed a request from New York Comptroller John Liu to release workforce-diversity data that was made public by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and MetLife Inc. (MET)
AIG hasn’t joined other companies among the city’s largest financial firms in providing access to information on female and minority employment, Michael Garland, Liu’s executive director for corporate governance, said in an interview yesterday. Goldman Sachs and MetLife, the biggest U.S. life insurer, agreed in April to publicly release employment information that is required to be prepared for the federal government.
“We try to get to a place where the company recognizes it is in their self interest and the interest of shareholders to take the next step, and that’s why companies agree,” Garland said. “AIG apparently is not there yet.”
The insurer “has engaged in discussions with the comptroller’s office,” said Jim Ankner, a company spokesman. “AIG is very committed to diversity.” Matt Anderson, a spokesman for AIG’s majority owner, the U.S. Treasury Department, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.
Liu oversees funds for New York City pensions and had more than $120 billion under management as of March 31. He said investors are entitled to know about the diversity of companies in which they invest.
“Many companies say they recognize the business case for a more diverse workforce and highlight their efforts to promote greater diversity,” Liu said in an e-mailed statement today. “But without disclosure of employment data, shareholders cannot be assured companies are practicing what they preach. This is a proposal we will continue to pursue.”
Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank by assets, said 20 percent of its executives and senior officials in the country were female, compared with 17 percent at MetLife. The figure was 24 percent at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and 21 percent at Citigroup Inc., both of which have made the data available for years.
JPMorgan, Citigroup and MetLife all reported that a majority of their U.S. workforce was female, led by JPMorgan, the country’s largest bank by assets, at 57 percent. The figure is 36 percent at Goldman Sachs.
JPMorgan said 54 percent of first- and mid-level officials and managers were female and 64 percent of a category labeled “all other.” At Citigroup, almost half of the 49,650 female employees work in administrative support, and about 15 percent are first- or mid-level managers.
The disclosure “gives us a picture, you know, to the extent that they have a diverse workforce, how does that play out as you go up the ladder,” Garland said. “We know as an industry, there’s significant underrepresentation” of minorities and women.
The New York City pension funds held more than 1.2 million Goldman Sachs shares, 2.3 million MetLife shares, and 1.1 million AIG shares, according to an April 16 statement from Liu.
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