Industry failing on gender diversity: CFA

Industry failing on gender diversity: CFA

The lack of women in senior investment management roles is holding the industry back, a new CFA Societies survey has found.


Effective diversity practices are “one of the hallmarks of a mature industry”, according to CFA Society Sydney president Anthony Serhan, who has called on the Australian financial services industry to lead the way on gender diversity.

“This isn’t just from a moral perspective. There are genuine reasons why diverse societies function not only more harmoniously but also deliver improved concrete outcomes at all levels and constituencies,” Mr Serhan said.

“The principles and outcomes as applied to industry are no different and, as the stewards of community wealth, we want our industry to show leadership in this area.”

Mr Serhan’s comments follow the release of CFA’s Gender Diversity in Investment Management survey, which found that only 9.8 per cent of chief executive roles in the investment management profession globally are held by women.

The statistics were similar for chief investment officers, chief financial officers and portfolio managers, of which women comprise 10.2 per cent, 11 per cent and 14.9 per cent respectively.

“Women were found to be also more likely than men to have jobs that support or service those in investment management – 22 per cent for women versus 16 per cent for men,” CFA said.

Despite this, the survey found 54 per cent of individual investors and 55 per cent of institutional investors expected better investment performance from, or would prefer to work with, gender diverse investment teams.

CFA said it wanted to increase gender diversity and suggested providing women with earlier exposure to the industry, emphasising the benefits of diversity to investors and bridging the work-life balance gap could be effective ways to achieve this.

“As the industry’s only global standard setter in ethics and best practices, we are asking our members and industry partners to join us in addressing the chronic issue of gender disparity in the investment management industry,” Mr Serhan said.

“CFA is also under-represented in terms of female members so we absolutely include ourselves in this endeavour.”

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