Industry leadership in gender diversity needed

Almost half the respondents of a CFA Institute Research Foundation survey do not believe gender diversity is a significant issue in investment management.

According to the ‘Gender Diversity in Investment Management' survey, this was believed to be one of the likeliest reasons why women were so underrepresented at every level of the financial profession.

However, 54 per cent of individual investors expected better investment performance from or would prefer to work with a team of gender diverse investment professionals. A total of 55 per cent of institutional investments also held this view.

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CFA Society Sydney president and Morningstar research strategy for Asia-Pacific managing director, Anthony Serhan, said the world was a diverse place and the principles by which a society's belief system and practices were based must reflect this fact.

"As the industry's only global standard setter in ethics and best practices, we are asking our members and industry partners to join in addressing the chronic issue of gender disparity in the investment management industry," he said.

"CFA is also under-represented in terms of female members so we absolutely include ourselves in this endeavour."

The survey found top female investment professionals globally only held 9.8 per cent of chief executive roles, 10.2 per cent of chief investment officer roles, 11 per cent of chief financial officer roles, and 17.3 per cent of personal financial advisers or planners.

"There are genuine reasons why diverse societies function not only more harmoniously but also delivers improved concrete outcomes at all levels of constituencies," Serhan said.

"The principles and outcomes as applied to industry are no different and, as the stewards of community wealth, we want our industry to show leadership in this area."

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