The Australian Institute of Company Directors statistics show that at the end of December 2020, the percentage of females on ASX200 boards was 32.4 per cent, up from 30.9% in May 20201. Now only two ASX companies remain with no female board members.

In 2020, gender diversity at the board and executive team levels of ASX-listed companies was, and continues to be, a focus engagement theme for IFM. We regularly participate in collaborative engagements on this and other responsible investment themes. The investor-led organisations and initiatives we collaboratively engage with on the issue of gender diversity include:

  • Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) – As a full member, we have engaged with ASX200 companies alongside ACSI on a range of ESG issues, including board gender diversity, for many years. We also execute our proxy votes in line with ACSI’s diversity policy.
  • 30% Club - IFM is a member of the 30% Club and has representation on its Board Diversity Working Group in Australia. In 2020, we collaborated with the 30% Club, targeting small cap ASX-listed companies on board diversity issues. In targeted discussions, we sought to gauge the extent to which a board is thinking creatively about how to find and appoint appropriate and diverse board directors. We aim to help connect these boards with channels to larger pools of female talent, such as specialist board recruiters and the Australian Institute of Company Directors Chair’s Mentoring Program.
  • 40:40 Vision - In 2020, we became an inaugural signatory to 40:40 Vision, which was founded by Australian industry superannuation fund HESTA and is supported by key industry partners. We plan to work with 40:40 Vision in 2021 to encourage ASX200 companies to set medium and long-term targets for their executive leadership teams to achieve gender balance, or at least 40 per cent female representation, by 2030.

These collaborations leverage the collective resources and influence of like-minded investors and organisations to help achieve the outcomes we seek in a more efficient and timely manner. We believe proactive company engagement and voting is critical to encourage responsible corporate behaviour and to drive ESG initiatives. It is through this activity that we seek to build value in pursuit of our purpose, which is to protect and grow the retirement savings of working people.

IFM is an active member of or signatory to a number of collaborative organisations and initiatives focused on promoting responsible investment principles globally. For a full list, please refer to page 40 of our 2020 Responsible Business Report.