WaveStone signs up to 40:40 Vision

WaveStone are pleased to announce we have pledged our support for industry super fund HESTA’s 40:40 Vision to increase the proportion of women in senior leadership across Australia’s largest listed companies to at least 40% by 2030.

Research[1] conducted by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre shows an increase in the share of female ‘top-tier’ managers by 10 percentage points or more led to a 6.6 per cent increase in the market value of Australian ASX-listed companies, worth the equivalent of A$104.7 million.

But the number of women in leadership has flatlined, according to Chief Executive Women’s latest census on ASX200 senior executives, with just 30 ASX200 companies having at least 40% women in executive leadership in 2020.[2]

As an investor with over $4 billion of funds under management (as at 31 August 2020), we have real power through active ownership to influence change at these levels. As asset owners and asset managers we are responsible for the stewardship of the investments we make on behalf of our members and clients.

Part of that responsibility includes ensuring that companies have appropriate diversity across their executive leadership. We believe that companies with executive teams that are gender-diverse make better decisions and ultimately help create long-term value for shareholders.

By signing up to 40:40 Vision WaveStone is not only supporting the goal of gender balance in executive leadership across Australian companies by 2030, but also driving better investment outcomes for our members and clients.

Importantly, as part of 40:40 Vision, we are also committing to real and tangible actions to make this happen including:

  • Actively engaging with companies on the gender diversity of their executive team
  • Encouraging companies to sign on to the Vision to demonstrate their commitment
  • Raising questions where there is evidence that companies are lagging behind targets
  • Consider voting against the re-election Board or Committee members if companies are failing to demonstrate action on gender diversity aligned with long-term shareholder value.

Companies need to be transparent about the number or percentage of women and men they aim to have in senior leadership, as well as have public pathway targets and annual progress reporting if we are to achieve gender balance at this level by 2030.

We look forward through our membership of 40:40 Vision to playing our part in making the Australian corporate landscape more representative and diverse.

To find out more about the pledge, visit hesta.com.au/4040vision


[1] https://www.wgea.gov.au/newsroom/media-releases/more-women-at-the-top-proves-better-for-business

[2] Chief Executive Women ASX200 Senior Executive Census 2020 Report