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‘It’s pretty shocking’: Bridging the gender diversity gap in financial services

There is a “huge, gaping gap” in the financial services industry that must be addressed, according to an Australian managing director.

Head of exchange-traded managed fund company ETF Investments Australia (eInvest), Camilla Love, joined the latest episode of the ifa Show to discuss gender diversity in which she said said specific areas are still far behind in bridging the gap.

“It’s pretty shocking,” said Ms Love, who is also the creator of the Future Females in Finance (F3 Project).

“When you go into specific pockets of finance — you look at financial planning, you look at investment management, these focused areas — there’s an absolute gap, huge gaping gap.

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“In the 20 years that I’ve been in the industry, has it got better? I’m not sure.

“If you’re looking for the best people, then get the best people. And that means that you’ll end up having a really diverse team.”

Earlier this year during a House economics committee meeting, Aware Super CIO Damian Graham said that though the fund boasts 40 per cent females in its investment team, it is “really difficult” to achieve gender diversity in the investment market.

“Investing’s a really tough area… it’s one that we’ve really struggled to get really great gender diversity and broader diversity is potentially a little bit better, but I do think that gender balance is really difficult in investment market,” Mr Graham said.

Ms Love continued that leadership must come from the top, starting with the government, to have a ripple effect on the industry.

“… if the government can’t get their female ranks right, how do you expect 50 per cent of the population to support what they’re doing?” she continued.

“And similarly, in finance, think about who your client base is. Your client base is 50 per cent female and 50 per cent male. And if you can’t represent them properly and understand and stand in their shoes… you’re not actually adding value here.”

Last month, the F3 Project, in partnership with Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA), announced a scholarship for young women working in financial services.

The FPA — as the custodian of the government’s $1.5 million grant to improve gender balance in the finance industry — awarded $25,000 to F3 to fund 20 work experience places, with the aim of fostering a greater number of females pursuing a career in financial services.

Listen to the full ifa Show episode with Ms Love here.

‘It’s pretty shocking’: Bridging the gender diversity gap in financial services
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Neil Griffiths

Neil Griffiths

Neil is the Deputy Editor of the wealth titles, including ifa and InvestorDaily.

Neil is also the host of the ifa show podcast.

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