HESTA holds investment managers to account on gender diversity

Health and community services-focused industry super fund HESTA is cracking down on poor diversity, announcing that it will survey 70 of its investment managers about workplace gender diversity in an attempt to improve diversity across its whole investment process.

The survey would measure rates of gender diversity across a broad range of roles across the investment value chain, including internal investment operations, external investment partnerships and the companies in which managers invest.

HESTA said it would share the aggregate results with its managers and track progress on an annual basis.

Debby Blakey, HESTA chief executive, said that ensuring investment managers promoted gender diversity would in turn benefit the fund’s members.

She said diversity was an accurate indicator of how well a company is run, with diverse companies more likely to deliver strong performance results.

Blakey believed that the investment management industry in particular had an issue with under-representation of women historically.

With more than 80 per cent of its members being women, promoting gender equality would also improve members’ opportunities and income before retirement.

“Gender equality directly impacts the financial interests of HESTA members. Encouraging more inclusive work cultures that celebrate diversity creates greater career opportunities for women which, over the long-term, can also increase their retirement savings,” Blakey said.

Last year, Blakey wrote to ASX 200 companies asking them to set specific targets and timeframes regarding the number of women at senior executive level.

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