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ASCI Voting Policy Update Promotes Board Gender Balance

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has released a new voting policy aimed at promoting gender balance in Australia’s listed company boardrooms. The policy means ASX300 companies could face recommendations against male director re-elections if women do not occupy a minimum of 30% of board seats. The new voting policy takes effect from July 2023 and extends to the ASX201-300, in which women hold 34% of board seats on average. Currently, women hold almost 36% of all ASX200 directorships, an increase from 19.7% in 2015. In the top 200 companies, there are still 54 that fall below the 30% threshold. “It’s positive to see the significant shift towards greater board diversity in the ASX300,” Louise Davidson, CEO at ACSI said. “For investors, this means boards are accessing a larger talent pool which provides more diverse skills and backgrounds to draw on. However, these averages mask a lack of progress in many companies, such as the 97 companies in the ASX300 which fall below the 30 percent mark […] recommendations will be made against companies which make no progress at all.”

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