Seventy-two major financial firms have signed up to the new government Charter designed to improve gender diversity in senior positions within the industry.
Firms including Credit Suisse, Barclays Bank Plc, EY, Lloyd’s of London, Morgan Stanley, PwC UK, Santander and Thomson Reuters, were unveiled at the London Stock Exchange, where the Economic Secretary of the Treasury, Harriet Baldwin opened the markets to celebrate the success of the Charter.
The Women in Finance Charter is a pledge made by companies for gender balance across the financial services. The Charter asks companies to have one member of their senior executive team who is responsible for gender diversity; to set internal targets for gender diversity; to publish annual targets in reports; and to have the intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to their internal targets.
Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, said:
“We are proud to have signed the charter and support the focus and accountability it will bring to help change the gender balance in financial organisations. We are committed to equality in the workplace and see diversity as a business imperative – it leads to better business decisions and creates an environment where everyone can reach their full potential.”
The commitments are based on the recommendations set out in Jayne-Anne Gadhia’s Review into the representation of women in financial services. The review found that female representation in financial services in the UK was around 23 per cent on Boards, but only 14 per cent on Executive Committees.
Speaking about the launch of the new Charter, Gadhia, the Chief Executive of Virgin Money, said, “I am delighted by the large number of financial services firms who have signed the HMT Women in Finance Charter. They include firms from across the UK financial services sector, with large investment banks, retail banks, asset managers and insurers amongst the signatories.”
“I am convinced that the large number, as well as the diversity of firms who have signed the Charter, marks a significant turning-point in the battle for a more balanced and fair industry. It demonstrates that a growing number of Chief Executives and Boards within the sector are taking the issue seriously and recognise the strong link between greater gender balance and improved productivity and performance.”
David Craig, president, Financial & Risk at Thomson Reuters said:
“We need to continue to manage the flow of talent to the top of the organisation so that it properly reflects the diversity of the society we inhabit and the customers we serve. It isn’t about meeting gender targets today – it’s about creating an environment, a culture, which attracts and retains the best people because it offers them the opportunity to succeed and to excel, it’s about an open and inclusive culture that drives better performance.”
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriet Baldwin said, “It is fantastic that 72 firms have signed up to the Women in Finance Charter. By signing the Charter, firms are committing to driving change at the senior levels of the male-dominated financial services industry.”
“Such widespread commitment to the Charter will make a genuine difference to gender diversity in financial services and I am delighted to celebrate this today.”
“This is just one part of the government’s broader ambition to tackle gender inequality in the workplace and ensure that women everywhere are able to fulfil their potential.”
Baldwin will also be attending an event at Barclays Accelerator today (11 July 2016) to discuss the Charter commitments. All the signatory firms will be in attendance and, in the spirit of the Charter, will also bring a junior woman from their firm with leadership aspirations.