Specialist in Asia Pacific, Japan, China, India and South East Asia and Global Emerging Market equities.

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formerly Realindex Investments

Leader in active quantitative equities across Australian equities, global equities, emerging markets and global small companies.

Backed by a unique blend of research, portfolio construction and risk management, focused on uncovering original insights and translating them into investment strategies that are active and systematic, aiming to generate alpha.

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At Stewart Investors, we believe in putting people first. Our investment world-view is of a series of partnerships – with each other, with our clients, with the companies we invest in, the people who buy their goods and services, and with the wider society in which we all live and work.

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Why is it important to us?

Diversity, equity and inclusion are the keys to building fair and equitable organisations, institutions and communities. While there are many business benefits that can accrue from including people with different skills, life experiences and outlooks, we also believe that creating diverse and inclusive organisations is the right thing to do.

What is First Sentier Investors doing?

Currently, many of our investment teams assess gender diversity as part of their company analysis. This is generally achievable for board diversity, as gender balance is usually publicly reported, and forms part of a company’s assessment on its social and governance performance.

Where available, the gender diversity of executive leadership teams is also considered by some of our teams. However, the lack of reporting requirements for this, in most markets, makes it more difficult. As noted in the feature below, proprietary research by RQI Investors has delved deeper into the gender split of senior management teams globally and found a direct link between greater gender diversity and better company performance. The RQI Investors team has now included senior management diversity measures into its investment process.

We continue to be involved in industry collaborations designed to boost gender diversity on boards (Australian Institute of Directors’ 30% Club) and senior management (40:40 Vision, led by Australian superannuation fund HESTA). We are also committed to bringing more women into our own investment teams and continue to work towards our commitment to have women comprise at least 40% of investment management staff by 2033, as outlined in the Financial Services Council Women in Investment Management Charter.

Departing from previous practice, FSI’s internal diversity initiatives and gender scorecards will no longer be outlined in the 2022 Responsible Investment Report. Instead, it will be covered in detail in our inaugural Corporate Sustainability Report.

Investment team progress

Investment teams also made progress on this issue, as outlined below.

Fixed Income, Short Term Investments and Global Credit

While the Fixed Income, Short Term Investments and Global Credit team does not have the ability to vote on resolutions, it continued to engage with companies on improving gender diversity on boards and management levels where relevant, and to improve diversity more broadly.

Australian Equities Growth

The Australian Equities Growth team continued to ask portfolio companies about their initiatives to improve gender diversity across their workforce. It asks companies about where they perceive the challenges to be and the initiatives they have in place to address those, and encourages companies to carry out equal pay reviews if they have not already done so.

Australian Small and Mid Cap Companies

The Australian Small and Mid Cap Companies team seeks to engage extensively with companies on board composition and diversity. While the team is one of many voices advocating for greater board diversity, the strong relationships the team has built with companies over many years, together with an understanding of the challenges for growing businesses, allows for targeted and meaningful engagement.

Reporting on progress

FSI sought to analyse the board gender diversity of the companies we invest in, to increase transparency and set a baseline for future reference. This is the first year we have captured this data, and while it only applies to our listed equities teams at this stage (representing US$88.8bn of AUM as at 31 December 2022), we hope to increase coverage to other asset classes in subsequent years.

The table below shows the weighted average percentage of females on boards for all listed equities teams across FSI, compared to an aggregation of their respective benchmarks, and covering 97.5% of listed equities AUM. As several markets are increasing regulation on this issue, we expect to see an increase in board gender diversity over the next decade.

Table 1. Percentage of females on Boards

Weighted average % females on Boards Weighted average % females on Boards - aggregated benchmark Variance to aggregated benchmark Coverage (% AUM)
26.2% 25.3% 0.9% 97.5%


Source: First Sentier Investors, Sustainalytics, Data as at 31/12/2022

Diversity can be summed up as ‘the things that make us different'.


We are currently exploring ways to assess more markers of diversity in companies.

If diversity can be summed up as ‘the things that make us different’, those things are often a combination of internal factors such as race, age, or sexual orientation, as well as external forces such as a person’s socioeconomic background or education. A diverse organisation will be comprised of people who have a range of different experiences, however, data on such factors is often limited, partly due to their personal nature.

FSI’s own Diversity Census, now in its second year, is a voluntary survey that seeks to capture these more nuanced differences. It allows us to be more transparent with clients and employees, as well as identify areas for improvement. We would like to see similar approaches in the companies we invest in, so that we can engage with them more meaningfully on this topic.

Future plans

FSI will be undertaking detailed research on the challenges and opportunities of assessing diversity beyond gender, in the companies in which we invest.

As part of this, we will work with investment teams to develop an engagement framework that facilitates conversations with boards and management teams regarding their organisation’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

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Responsible Investment Report

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Stewardship Report

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