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Funds with gender-diverse boards out-perform, again

Originally published on Rainmaker Information 

Superannuation members can have greater confidence in their fund if they are led by a more gender-diverse team, according to research from Rainmaker Information.

Superannuation funds with a high proportion of women in leadership positions out-performed male-dominated funds by 0.6% p.a. over three years on average. This finding has remained true in Rainmaker's research over several years of analysis.

"This outperformance may seem small, yet compounded over a member's working life it can translate into tens of thousands of extra dollars in your superannuation account," said Alex Dunnin, executive director of research at Rainmaker.

On average four in 10 of the trustees overseeing the MySuper products were women. But the ratio of funds having a woman as chair or CEO was only about half of this and an even smaller proportion have women as their fund's chief investment officer.

These figures identify that more work is needed in order to achieve gender diversity across the industry, and the strong performance results only add further weight to ongoing calls for change.

Leading the charge for balanced leadership teams and the growing role of women within superannuation leadership positions is the Not For Profit sector.

Super funds found to have higher than average proportions of women in senior leadership positions are (sorted alphabetically):

  • CareSuper
  • Club Plus
  • Energy Super
  • First State Super
  • First Super
  • NGS Super
  • REI Super
  • Sunsuper
  • Telstra Super
  • VicSuper
  • Vision Super

"MySuper default investment choices that have higher than average female representation in their leadership teams were found to out-perform male-dominated funds by 0.6% p.a. over three years and 0.4% p.a. over five years," said Dunnin.

To run this year's study Rainmaker categorised single strategy MySuper products according to the gender mix of their trustee board and whether they had women as their chair, chief executive or as one their deputies.

No relationship was found between a MySuper product's performance over three years and the gender mix of the trustee board. However, performance benefits occurred for products offered through super funds that also have a woman as their chair or CEO.

"For these products the performance boost was 0.9% p.a. over three years." said Dunnin.

"The purpose of Rainmaker's study is to explore if there's a performance benefit for gender diverse super funds. The clear answer is yes."

Rainmaker's analysis also revealed Australia's top funds for having the most female members.

Funds with the most female accounts   Funds with the highest share of female accounts
1 REST 1,209,652   1 Guild Super 84%
2 AustralianSuper 860,195   2 HESTA 80%
3 AMP Super 857,405   3 Mercy Super 77%
4 Sunsuper 700,666   4 The Victorian Independent Schools Superannuation Fund 74%
5 HESTA 684,902   5 Australian Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund 74%
6 Hostplus 612,812   6 NGS Super 71%
7 First State Super 561,110   7 legalsuper 71%
8 MLC Super 512,637   8 Lutheran Super 69%
9 BT 459,652   9 Catholic Super 67%
10 ANZ Wealth 400,673   10 First State Super 65%
Source: APRA, analysis by Rainmaker Information
For enquiries please contact:

Hugh Nieuwland
P. 02 8234 7522
E. [email protected]

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