While there have been gender diversity improvements in investment management teams with women making up 25% of staff, there has not been enough improvement with the key decision makers, according to a panel.
Speaking at the Financial Services Council’s (FSC’s) webinar on general equality in investment management teams, Mercer pacific chief investment officer, Kylie Willment, said Mercer surveyed its global investment manager platform and found that women only accounted for just 12% of key decision makers.
“It's not a bad thing to be building gender diversity in the more junior levels, because that's obviously one of the ways that we're going to get our females into more senior roles,” Willment said.
“But we also need to be making sure that we are focusing on those senior levels as well.”
The FSC launched its Women in Investment Management Charter on Thursday to promote diversity in investment teams.
Willment noted that over the last few years Mercer had been improving on its diversity within her investment team, particularly across gender and cultural diversity.
“With a targeted effort and thoughtfulness in the way that we've been building the team and our recruitment processes, and the way that we have been attracting talent, we've been able to hit 40% females within the investment team at this point,” Willment said.
“When we put that on that measure of the key decision makers over ourselves, we're currently at about 30%.
“It'd be good to get that up but we've certainly made progress in that regard. But it takes quite deliberate and focused action and intent.”
Mercer Australia pacific president and chief executive, David Bryant, said three areas that needed to improve to increase gender diversity were culture, identifying hidden biases, and flexible working.
In launching the charter, eight asset managers had signed the initiative including:
- AllianceBernstein Australia;
- Australian Ethical Investment;
- First Sentier Investors;
- Russell Investment Group; and
- State Street Global Advisors Australia Limited.
The four principles the charter signatories adopted included:
- Appointing an investment management senior executive who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity within the investment management team;
- Setting internal targets for gender diversity in the investment management division;
- Monitoring and reporting annually how the organisation is tracking against its target; and
- Having an intention of linking the pay of relevant staff to delivery against the gender diversity target set by the organisation.