July 10, 2013

Average Stock Price of Gender Diverse Corporate Boards Outperform Those with No Women

Thomson Reuters Study "Mining the Metrics of Board Diversity" Analyzes the Progression of Women on Corporate Boards

NEW YORK and LONDON - Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, released its latest study, "Mining the Metrics of Board Diversity" today. Findings show how the progression of women on boards has increased gradually over the past five years but that, on average, companies with mixed-gender boards have marginally better, or similar, performance to a benchmark index, such as the MSCI World, particularly over the past 18 months. Whereas, on average, companies with no women on their boards underperformed relative to gender-diverse boards and had slightly higher tracking errors, indicating potentially more volatility.

“Mining the Metrics of Board Diversity” reveals how the progression of women on corporate boards has changed over time, region and by sector, and whether gender diversity helps drive stock performance. It also looks at the proportion of companies with processes in place to drive diversity and equal opportunity. Key findings include:

  • Indices of companies with mixed gender boards have, on aggregate, marginally better or very similar performance to a reference benchmark. Companies with no women on their boards underperformed, on average, relative to gender-diverse boards.
  • Adoption of policies and processes to promote gender diversity and equal opportunity increased from 64% in 2008 to 66% in 2012, and is particularly high among the Americas, even without legislation or quotas.
  • Local legal requirements appear to have had a greater impact in the adoption of policies to improve gender diversity in companies, rather than media related controversies.
  • Global trends indicate a gradual increase in the percentage of companies that have women on their boards with 59% of companies reporting women board members, up from 56% in 2008.
  • Only 17% of the companies analyzed report having a board consisting of 20% or more women (13% in 2008); 45% report boards of 10% or more women (39% in 2008).
  • From a regional perspective, EMEA has the most women on corporate boards followed closely by the Americas, while companies in the Asia Pacific region report having the least gender-diverse boards.
  • Sector trends indicate that companies within the Technology, Industrials and Non-Cyclical Consumer Goods & Services sectors lead in having the most gender-diverse boards, while Healthcare companies have the least.

“Over the past five years significant measures have been put into place to help increase equal opportunity and diversity and while there has been a gradual increase in the percentage of companies that have women on boards, there is still a long way to go, says Andre Chanavat, product manager, Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) at Thomson Reuters. “This study suggests that the performance of companies with mixed boards matched or even slightly outperformed companies with boards comprised solely of men, further reinforcing the idea that gender equality in the workplace makes good investment and business sense.”

“Mining the Metrics of Board Diversity” analyzes the level of gender diversity on corporate boards compiled from 4,100 public companies globally, using data from Thomson Reuters ASSET4 universe which provides objective and transparent environmental, social and governance (ESG) information. In addition, it raises the questions of what needs to be done for companies to hire more women to corporate boards.

This study complements Thomson Reuters “Women in the Workplace” analysis of February 2012, which revealed that corporations were doing more to track the number of women they employ. Furthermore, those corporations that recorded more women at managerial levels appeared to benefit from healthier share prices in times of market turmoil. 

Thomson Reuters ASSET4 ESG database provides in-depth environmental, social and governance information enabling socially responsible investment analysis. The ESG database contains information on 4,300+ global companies and over 750 data points covering every aspect of sustainability reporting.

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