Women on superannuation fund boards

Women in Super (WIS) supports and encourages the appointment of women to superannuation fund boards. While the superannuation industry leads corporate Australia in terms of the proportion of female directors appointed to boards, numbers are still well-below what is considered ‘representative’ of the working population. WIS has adopted a target of 40% female directors on superannuation fund boards by 2017. WIS supports mandating a quota if funds do not move towards achieving this target, especially where the composition of a fund's board does not reflect its membership.

In 2012, around 18% of directors of APRA-regulated superannuation funds are female, up from 16% in 2010. In contrast, 15% of ASX200 company directors are female, which has nearly doubled from 8% in 2010.[1]

WIS recognises that many superannuation funds have made great advances in improving their board diversity, but more must be done. As institutional investors, superannuation funds support greater diversity on the boards of public companies in which they invest. Therefore, superannuation funds must lead by example.

In a broader industry context, our corporate supporters have adopted policies in this area. In February 2015 the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) set a target of 30% of women on all boards in ASX 200 companies to be achieved by 2017. ACSI made this announcement with the strong mandate of its members who own approximately 10% of the average ASX 200 company. AIST have also adopted a target that all not-for profit super boards have a minimum of 40% of each gender by 2017. Currently, the sector average sits at 21% female trustee directors. Other organisations such as the Financial Services Council, Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), Women on Boards, and others support the achievement of greater board diversity in both the superannuation industry and in publicly-listed companies.

Super Springboard

In 2012, AIST and WIS offered 20 women the opportunity to undertake the 12-month Super Springboard program – an intensive upskilling course designed to create Board-ready women. This program was incredibly successful with a high percentage of these women taking up Board or senior leadership positions within the super industry after competition.

AIST Trustee Register

If you are interested in being on the board of a not-for-profit superannuation fund, we recommend you check out our founding partner, AIST's Trustee Register. This free service is for experienced professionals to register their interest for trustee director positions on not-for-profit superannuation boards.

[1] APRA, Women on Boards


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