The Australasian asset management industry has received a gender diversity boost this week with the launch of a new high-profile group looking to grow the influence of women in the sector.
According to a release, the Australia and NZ chapter of the Bloomberg Women’s Buy-side Network (BWBN) “aims to inspire next generation investors, elevate female role-models, and grow the pipeline of female leaders in asset management”.
After launching the first BWBN chapter in 2018, the Australia and NZ group is the fifth in the Bloomberg series and the first outside Asia. The previous BWBN chapters cover Singapore, India, Hong Kong and Japan.
Both chief investment officer of the Australian Future Fund, Sue Brake, and NZ Superannuation Fund (NZS) chief, Matt Whineray, feature among the influential executive arm of the new BWBN chapter.
As well as the sovereign wealth fund leaders, the Australasian BWBN executives include: Susan Buckley; liquid markets group managing director for Queensland government investment giant, QIC; Cassandra Crowe, T Rowe Price vice president; Sonya Sawtell-Rickson, chief investment officer at industry super fund HESTA; and James Bell, Bloomberg Australia and NZ head.
The Future Fund’s Brake said in the release that: “Inspiration and leadership are key to attracting the next generation of talented women from across diverse areas into asset management. We want driven, highly capable young women to be curious and intrigued about financial markets and investing, and to realise their full potential in leading on the future design and growth of this industry. Having more female role models from the buy-side can help inspire that change.”
To date, the BWBN chapters have embarked on several educational, networking and mentoring efforts to help establish better career paths for women in the industry. In January this year the group also published an outlook paper detailing investment themes – including sustainability and diversity – for 2021.
While about 80 per cent of the BWBN are female, men also contribute to the group with NZS chief, Whineray, noting: “Finding a way to attract women into our industry is one of the biggest challenges we face; however, it’s likely to have a significant effect on how our industry changes for the better over the long term.
“Long-term success as an investor requires us to seek out and support more diverse thinking and perspectives. We are committed to building our pipeline of female talent and enabling the exceptional female talent we already have.”
Bell said Bloomberg was targeting gender diversity in the buy-side of the asset industry as it “delivers significant long-term impact, not only for those it directly serves but for the world it creates through its investment decisions”.