Improving gender diversity will help the investment industry better understand its "fundamental purpose" and thereby deliver better outcomes to members, says Pendal's Richard Brandweiner.
At a launch event in Sydney on Monday, Pendal chief executive Richard Brandweiner spoke about the role that gender equality in the investment management industry could play in redefining the sector’s overarching purpose.
“A lot of the traits that come with diversity, things like empathy, things like emotional intelligence, these sorts of ideas, are going to be absolutely critical in helping our industry rediscover its purpose, the underlying point of financial services and investment management,” Mr Brandweiner said.
“Because there is a fundamental purpose of finance, and it’s good. And I think if we embrace more diverse workforces, we will be able to realise that more quickly and deliver better outcomes.”
Mr Brandweiner formed part of a panel that spoke at the launch of Future IM/Pact, a collaborative project between Mercer and AustralianSuper, Cbus Super, Future Fund, HESTA, Magellan, Mercer, NAB Asset Management, Pendal, QIC and Wavestone, which aims to attract more learning and employment opportunities for university students, particularly women.
In a statement about the project launch, Mr Brandweiner added that recovering a sense of the finance sector’s “underlying purpose” was “critical in regaining the trust of our community”.
“Our involvement in the Future IM/Pact initiative represents our commitment to reach out and encourage a diverse range of students and early career aspirants to become a much bigger part of the next generation of investment management professionals.
“In so doing, it aims to create a more sustainable, higher performing industry that will better serve society,” he said.
Mr Brandweiner also indicated his support for gender quotas on the board level, but said beneath that, quotas were not necessary.
“In a perfect world, I don’t think any of us wants a quota on a board level either, but I just don’t see how we’re going to drive meaningful change unless we push it hard at that level.
“We still need to force change at that level, and then hopefully that will start greater cascading.”
As part of the project launch, a new website will be unveiled for university students “from all backgrounds and walks of life” to gain a greater understanding of how a career in investment management can have an impact on the world.
The website will also contain information on how to begin their investing career as well as opportunities provided by project partners for networking events, mentoring projects, internships, graduate programs and exposure to the industry.
Future Fund chief investment officer Raphael Arndt also commented that new skills and different backgrounds would be required going forward.
“To succeed in what will be a very different future environment we must bring together diverse perspectives, educational areas of study, skills and life experiences to maximise creative insights that will enable good performance.
“Increasing gender diversity will be an important part of achieving this outcome.”
On 25 July, InvestorDaily reported on new research from Frontier Advisers that found fund managers with more women tended to have better risk-adjusted returns.