The move by superannuation funds to manage assets in-house is helping to even the gender divide in financial services, according to Future IM/Pact.
A report by the organisation titled ‘Where are all the Women? How the Australian investment management industry is grappling with its lack of gender diversity and ideas to accelerate progress’, found the changing super industry was breaking down traditional barriers.
There was a growing trend towards super funds moving to manage assets in-house with UniSuper managing as much as 70% of its funds under management in-house.
Future IM/Pact founder, Yolanda Beattie, said large super funds were able to offer a larger range and number of front-office investing roles across bigger investment teams, creating more junior roles and clearer career pathways that are key to attracting and developing junior female talent.
The organisation had partnered with Sunsuper, which was set to merge with QSuper, which was looking to boost its pipeline of female talent through mentorships and connections with women at university. IT was also working with Australian Ethical and Munro Partners in the fund management space.
However, structural barriers remained in the industry such as less awareness of investment management as a career option, lack of confidence in competing for roles, lack of mentors and sponsorship.
Many fund management houses also only had small teams, compared to super funds, which made it difficult for people to get a foot in the door.
“Too many funds believe they’re too small and their staff turnover is too low to have an impact on this issue,” Beattie said.
“These are examples of funds who are determined to add to a collective effort that overcomes the issue of size.
“Because most funds only hire candidates with a minimum of two to three years’ experience, it’s not enough to just engage them at university.
“We need to be engaging women at scale in the traditional feeder roles of investment banking, management consulting, corporate finance and law, as well as at university.”