By Justin Baer 

Current and former employees of Pacific Investment Management Co. wrote to the investment firm's senior executives alleging a pattern of abusive and discriminatory behavior toward women and urging them to take steps to fix gaps in pay and promotions.

The letter, which was signed by 21 women, was sent Thursday to Pimco's top leaders, including its chief executive, Emmanuel Roman, and the firm's investment chief, Dan Ivascyn. Three of the women who cosigned the document have filed lawsuits against Pimco in the past two years, alleging gender or racial discrimination. Pimco is fighting the lawsuits.

"We are calling on you to step in and rectify these longstanding issues and create a company that provides equal opportunity and treatment to everyone regardless of their race, gender or disability," the women wrote.

The current and former employees asked Pimco's leaders to identify and correct disparities in pay and promotions, develop a five-year plan to diversify its senior staff and set up a complaint hotline run by an independent party.

"Pimco promptly investigates and responds appropriately to allegations of misconduct," a spokesman for the firm said. "As soon as these claims were brought to our attention, Pimco engaged a highly experienced, third-party expert to conduct an independent review of these matters."

The spokesman said the review was done several weeks before the current and former employees sent their Jan. 28 letter, and that Pimco has already addressed many of the actions they recommended.

He said Pimco conducts an annual review of pay and promotions in an effort to prevent biases and enforces anti-retaliation measures. In 2018, the firm hired an independent ombudsman to provide a forum for employees to raise workplace concerns confidentially. Mr. Roman sent an email to staff earlier this month reminding them how they can access the service.

Women comprise 19% of Pimco's 77 managing directors, its top management rank. Among executive vice presidents, 21% are women. And in its 50-year history, the firm has never had a Black managing director.

Pimco's hard-charging and competitive culture, notable even by Wall Street standards, has been a fixture throughout most of the firm's history. The firm earned a reputation for pushing its junior staff harder than many of its peers.

The payoff for those who make it to managing director is notable: The firm, which is owned by German insurer Allianz SE, sets aside about 30% of its annual profits for managing director bonuses.

Pimco typically appoints four to six new managing directors a year. The firm has about 3,500 employees; 37% are women. It couldn't be determined what percentage of employees are nonwhite.

In Thursday's letter, the current and former employees said the firm has made it even harder for women to make a successful climb to the top. They wrote that women are paid less than their male counterparts, lose career opportunities after pregnancies and face retaliation if they complain. The letter said the firm has also ignored instances where male employees sexually harassed female colleagues and alienated women of color for their choice of hairstyle and dress.

"Pimco's policies and procedures prohibit discrimination, harassment, and retaliation of any kind and the firm takes claims of such conduct very seriously," the Pimco spokesman said.

Write to Justin Baer at justin.baer@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 29, 2021 15:35 ET (20:35 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Allianz (XE:ALV)
Historical Stock Chart
Von Apr 2022 bis Mai 2022 Click Here for more Allianz Charts.
Allianz (XE:ALV)
Historical Stock Chart
Von Mai 2021 bis Mai 2022 Click Here for more Allianz Charts.