Banks back UK women in finance charter

HSBC, BNY Mellon and Standard Chartered among banks supporting the progression of women into senior roles.
By Jonathan Watkins & Hayley McDowell
Banks and asset managers have backed the UK government’s ‘women in finance charter’, supporting the progression of women into senior roles within the financial industry.

HSBC, BNY Mellon and Standard Chartered were among the 72 firms to sign up to the initiative. Which also included buy-side firms such as Aberdeen Asset Management, Columbia Threadneedle Investments and Schroders.

Those involved will promote gender diversity through four ‘key industry actions’ aimed at promoting women into senior management positions.

All have pledged to have one senior executive team member responsible for gender diversity, internal targets with annual progress reports and an incentive scheme linked to gender diversity.

At the GC Leaders panel on 30 June, HSBC’s head of securities services, Cian Burke, called on the industry to address gender diversity, saying an opportunity was being missed.

“One of the bigger challenges we have as an industry is the whole sense of broader diversity,” he said. “You only have to look across the panel and the audience, if this is a reasonable representation of the securities services industry then we are massively underweight in terms of female talent.”

The women in finance charter came about following a review published by Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the chief executive officer of Virgin Money.

Gadhia highlighted that “a balanced workforce at all levels in financial services will undoubtedly improve culture, behaviour, outcomes, profitability and productivity.”

A poll of 200 firms in the UK found an average of just 23% female representation on boards, and only 14% on executive committees.

Several global sell-side institutions have also signed up to the initiative, including Credit Suisse, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and HSBC UK.

Global Custodian is currently running a survey on gender diversity in hedge fund operations roles, to participate click here.