First Sentier targets 40% women in investment team

First Sentier Investors has set a target of having at least 40% women in its investment teams in Australia by 2033.

This was classified as those who had an active role in investment functions including portfolio managers, analysts and traders.

It had also signed up the Women in Investment Management Charter, set up by the Financial Services Council, which aimed to improve gender balance in investment management. This would be achieved through additional accountability and transparency mechanisms.

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Managing director, Liz Hastilow, said: “There is no silver bullet for improving gender diversity, but setting a target and measuring progress is key to creating change. Our current initiatives are focused on recruitment, and creating a culture which is supportive of women.

“First Sentier Investors requires recruiters to provide a diverse candidate pool for consideration and at least one female interviewer to participate in recruitment panels.

“This is already making a difference to the firm, and our graduate program this year, which resulted in the appointment of four female graduates for the four available positions, is testament to our approach.”

Chief investment officer, Perry Clausen, would be responsible for achieving gender diversity and said the target took the team’s low turnover rate and current composition into consideration.

“Our retention and recruitment practices are central to meeting this ambitious target,” Clausen said.

“The reality is that in order for us to achieve this target, two-thirds of future investment management hires will need to be women, and we will need to retain them as their careers develop.  

“While ambitious, we believe this is an achievable target for the business in Australia, and we will be looking at how we apply these principles to our business globally, incorporating other external frameworks as appropriate. 

“Commitments such as these hopefully send a message to school students, university career counsellors, and even parents, that the asset management industry wants to provide exciting and rewarding career opportunities for more women and improve the current gender imbalance of the industry.”

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Maybe target the best person for the job be it 100% women or 0%.

Given First Sentier has effectively announced they will no longer be appointing staff purely on merit, it may be appropriate for investment committees to review the presence of First Sentier on their recommended lists.

If you are a male, not much point remain or trying for a career at this place then?

Not much point if you are a competent female either. There will always be doubts about whether you were appointed based on merit or gender quota.

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