Speaking at the launch of the Women on Boards 2015 Diversity Index in Sydney yesterday, Aberdeen global chief investment officer Anne Richards highlighted the benefits of gender diversity.
“When we look at businesses in which we invest, [gender diversity] is one of the questions that we ask,” Ms Richards said.
“Is the bunch of people in charge of determining the strategy of that organisation the best possible combination of people that we could have?
“If it is a team that is exclusively one gender, the answer always unquestionably is probably not – you can probably do better,” she argued.
Mixed teams outperform male or female dominated gender boards and this has significant business implications, Ms Richards said.
“When you see gender diversity [on the] board of a company you know that it’s a really good proxy for the grand term we call cognitive diversity.”
According to the Women on Boards 2015 index, the ASX300 is performing badly ─ 81 companies are still without a woman on their board.
However, superannuation, sport, the ASX100 and cooperative research centres are areas where gains of more than five per cent in the number of women on boards have been made since 2013, the index found.
“At Aberdeen we care about this stuff,” Ms Richards reiterated.
“It matters for the businesses in which we invest.
“We are investors globally so it matters to us how well governed those businesses are,” she said.
Ms Richards also noted that Aberdeen’s clients are concerned about the poor level of female representation on boards.