ACSI’s latest report on board composition and non-executive director pay has shown an improvement in gender diversity to an unprecedented level in the boards of S&P/ASX 100 companies.  ACSI has also found that S&P/ASX100 companies have expanded the gene pool of non-executive directors through appointments made in 2011. The news is not quite so encouraging for S&P/ASX101-200 companies.

On 10 October 2012, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) released a report entitled Board Composition and Non-Executive Director Pay in the Top 200 Companies: 2011 detailing its findings on board composition and non-executive director pay for entities in the S&P/ASX200 for 2011.  Data was collected from 87 Top 100 entities and 88 ASX 101-200 entities.

ACSI found that the number of women serving on the Top 100 boards rose to an unprecedented level in 2011, with women accounting for 15.4% of all directors and 17.7% of all board seats in the companies sampled.  However, this growth was not reflected in the ASX 101-200, with only 8.5% of all directors and 9% of all board seats comprising women.  Nevertheless, the results show that boards are taking the issue of gender diversity seriously.

The Top 100 boards were also found to be larger and more likely to have a majority of independent directors (on ACSI’s criteria) than ASX101-200 boards, with only 12 of the Top 100 sample boards not have a majority of independents, compared to 40 of the ASX 101-200 sample boards.

Further, ACSI found that the majority of non-executive director appointments in the Top 100 sample entities came from outside the current list of directors.  ACSI supports this expansion in the pool of directors and has indicated that it would like to see a continuation of the trend.

ACSI found that the average fees paid to non-executive directors in the Top 100 sample entities rose by 3.6% to $215,721, compared to $130,227 for ASX 101-200 entities.

ACSI will use the insights from the 2011 report to underpin voting decisions and future engagement with the Government, companies and other institutional investors.

See the report.