Jefferies suggests link between diversity and returns

US investment bank Jefferies says high-level analysis of some of the world’s biggest miners indicates a possible link between share price performance and gender diversity.
Jefferies suggests link between diversity and returns Jefferies suggests link between diversity and returns Jefferies suggests link between diversity and returns Jefferies suggests link between diversity and returns Jefferies suggests link between diversity and returns

Of the 21 miners under Jefferies' coverage, Fortescue Metals Group is the only company with a female CEO, while Newmont Corporation, South32 and Kinross Gold have female chairs.

Newmont is the only company to have achieved gender parity for non-executive directors.

Jefferies' research found that all of the companies with above-average female representation (except those with exposure to coal and aluminium) created shareholder value over the past four years.

FMG was the best performer, with a four-year total shareholder return of 410.2%, followed by Anglo American (40% female directors) at 169.8% and Freeport-McMoRan (33% female directors) at 165.4%.

"Notably, even though some companies with below average female representation were able to create value for their shareholders over that four-year period, they underperformed their peers who had better than average female representation," Jefferies said.

BHP has achieved gender parity at the executive leadership team level, with South32 (44%) and FMG (40%) not far behind.

While South32 underperformed due to commodity exposure, Jefferies again found the companies with above-average female representative generally performed better than those without.

"While this sample size is too small to be statistically significant, it does suggest a possible correlation between share price performance and gender diversity in mining," it said.

Of Jefferies' coverage list, two thirds of the companies had outlined specific commitments to gender diversity.

"We acknowledge the industry's shift in mentality in recent years to dismantle the barriers to gender equity," the bank said.

"Perhaps this is driven by the realisation that there may be a correlation between operating performance (and, ultimately, share price performance) and gender diversity."