ACSI warns of ‘significant damage’ over harassment

By Lachlan Maddock
 — 1 minute read

The Australian financial services have been warned to clean up their act in the wake of a number of bombshell sexual harassment claims. 

Following allegations that one of IOOF’s senior executive sexually harassed a female colleague, the powerful Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has issued a warning that corporate Australia needs to clean up its act, or face reputational consequences. 

“Whilst we wait for further information to become available in this particular case, as a matter of principle sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable,” Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) chief executive Louise Davidson told InvestorDaily.


“Investors expect companies to have measures in place to identify, address and prevent sexual harassment. We have seen plenty of evidence over recent times that companies that fail to manage this issue do significant damage to their social licence to operate.”

ACSI, which represents some 37 domestic and international institutional investors, collectively owns 10 per cent of every ASX 200 company. The group took a leading role in discussions with AMP, calling its response to the harassment allegations made by Julia Szlakowski “inadequate” while hailing the decision to demote Boe Pahari as signalling change within the company. 

IOOF deputy CIO and head of equities Stanley Yeo is accused of sexually harassing a female colleague, including on her wedding day. The unnamed woman alleges she was also sexually discriminated against by her direct boss Osvaldo Acosta, and that the conduct of both men left her humiliated and distressed. 

IOOF has signalled that it will stand by Mr Yeo and Mr Acosta in the proceedings. 

“IOOF is confident that it has acted appropriately at all times and continues to support the legal process. IOOF will defend the action. As the matter is now before the courts, we will be making no further comment,” a spokesperson for the wealth giant told InvestorDaily.


ACSI warns of ‘significant damage’ over harassment
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