Women In Financial Services

Women In Financial Services

The financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); and Barclays, Capital Credit Union, Columbia Threadneedle, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Virgin Money are amongst the organisations who have confirmed they have signed up to the Women in Finance Charter.

The Charter is largely concerned with increasing the number of women carrying out senior roles in financial services.

Organisations that sign up to the Charter are making four key commitments:

  • Appointing a senior manager who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion
  • Setting targets for the percentage of the senior management team that are women
  • Publishing annual reports on their website as to what progress they are making towards these targets
  • Linking the remuneration of the senior management team to the progress made towards these targets

The Economic Secretary, Harriett Baldwin MP, is the only woman on the Treasury ministerial team, and she spoke about the Charter at the Women in Banking and Finance Annual Awards for Achievement earlier in the month.

Ms Baldwin said that:

“Harnessing the talents of women is essential if we want to make sure this industry continues to be successful in the UK. Quite simply, if we want to maintain our reputation as a world-leader in financial services, we need to be a world-leader in diversity too.”

Her speech referred to the fact that only 6% of CEOs in financial services were women. One of the best known of these is Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money, and the Charter resulted from her review into the role of women in financial services.

In October 2015, it was reported that the percentage of women on the boards of the UK’s largest banks had risen to 31%. However, other data appears to suggest other financial services firms are not making the same progress. In 2015, only 25% of the people approved to carry out controlled functions by the FCA were women. This figure is lower than for all seven previous years, and represents a significant fall from the equivalent figure of 32% in 2014. Controlled functions are senior roles where the postholder requires individual authorisation from the regulator.

Aside from the issues over the low percentages of women employed in some areas of the industry, Ms Baldwin’s speech claimed that women in financial services were paid almost 40% less than men, around double the gender pay gap across the entire UK labour market.

The Treasury will issue an update later in June on which organisations have signed the Charter.

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