Women in leadership can add $55,000 to your super

| March 7, 2019

Superannuation funds with higher female representation on their boards and in their leadership teams achieve greater returns for their members.

Funds with above-average levels of gender diversity in leadership achieved returns of 9.6% p.a. and 8.0% p.a. over one and three years respectively. Funds that have lower than average female representation earned 8.7% p.a. and 7.6% p.a. respectively, which has been revealed by Rainmaker Information, the publisher of the superannuation comparison service, SelectingSuper.

These results impact super fund members because funds with a high percentage of women in their leadership had a 71% incidence of out-performance over the three years to June 2018. This compares with only a 47% incidence of out-performance for funds with low female leadership representation.

Rainmaker found that the level of female representation in superannuation leadership has unfortunately remained steady at 30% since 2016.

“Super funds with higher proportions of women in their senior leadership ranks consistently show themselves to be superior and this reminds us why board and management diversity matters. It highlights that businesses that kick these goals have more perspectives in their ranks to make better decisions,” said Alex Dunnin, executive director of research at Rainmaker Information.

For members, the message is that the greater the gender diversity in your super fund’s leadership team, the more confident you can be that your fund is run well.

“While an extra 40 basis points to investment returns may seem small over a year, this could add an extra 11% or $55,000 to the average working member’s retirement savings when compounded over a working life,” added Dunnin.
In conducting this research Rainmaker analysed ‘single strategy1 default MySuper products offered by not-for-profit super funds2that oversee $860 billion in funds under management, with returns analysed to 30 June 2018.Rainmaker has developed the proprietary SelectingSuper W-Index that measures the gender diversity of each fund with respect to their chair and deputy chair, chief executive and deputy chief executive and trustee board.

Of the funds analysed, the average W-Index was 30%, meaning typically three in 10 members in leadership positions are women.

CareSuper, Hesta, VicSuper, Energy Super and Tasplan achieved the highest W-Index scores among the 39 funds analysed.


1Single strategy MySuper products offer streamlined investment and insurance offerings, and do not utilise age-based lifestyle investment strategies.

2The study focused on not for profit funds only because trustees in these funds play a different role compared to trustees of retail super funds and do not have the same management structure.

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