First Sentier commits to a gender target for investment teams
The Financial Services Council (FSC) has introduced its Women in Investment Management Charter (WIM Charter). The purpose of the WIM Charter is to help improve gender balance in investment management, through the introduction of additional accountability and transparency mechanisms to enable organisations to achieve their desired, self-nominated, gender diversity target.
As part of its commitment, First Sentier Investors has set a target to have women comprise at least 40 per cent of its investment management staff in Australia by 2033.
Investment management staff are classified as those actively involved in the investment function or who have an investment execution role, such as portfolio managers, investment/research or quantitative analysts, traders and other relevant staff.
First Sentier Investors’ managing director, Australia, Liz Hastilow, said diversity and inclusion continue to be priorities for the business.
“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,” Ms Hastilow said.
As part of his role as chief investment officer, Perry Clausen will be responsible and accountable for achieving gender diversity within the organisation’s investment management teams.
He said, “The 2033 target takes into consideration the current composition of our investment teams, and their typically low turnover rate. With long-term team stability being important to meeting our fiduciary obligations, it does mean we need to accept that it will take time to change the diversity profile of these teams.
“Our retention and recruitment practices are central to meeting this ambitious target. 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,” Clausen says.
“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,” Clausen adds.