Renewed Focus on Women in Finance

The issue of equality for women working in financial services has come back under the spotlight recently with the launch of a new inquiry by the UK Parliament’s Treasury Committee. 

 Women in Finance Charter

The inquiry will look at women in finance in general, with a particular focus on HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter and what progress has so far been made against it.

The 'Women in Finance Charter' was launched last year and is a commitment by HM Treasury and signatory firms to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry.

Financial Services firms that sign up to the charter are asked to implement four key industry actions:

  • having one member of the senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion;
  • setting internal targets for gender diversity in senior management;
  • publishing progress annually against these targets in reports on the company’s website;
  • having an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.

As of July this year, 141 financial services firms had apparently signed up to the charter. 

Remit of the Inquiry

The Treasury Committee’s inquiry will also:

  • seek to identify the barriers to women entering and progressing in the financial services industry, and examine the value to financial firms of having a greater gender balance across all job grades and functions.
  • scrutinise the role of Government and financial regulators in acting as role models for good gender diversity practices.

Work on the inquiry is to begin quickly, with the first evidence session of this inquiry being held on 24th October with Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who is the Chief Executive of Virgin Money and also the Women in Finance Champion.

"More women than men are employed in the financial services sector, but female representation at senior levels has been historically low,” commented Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee. “Gender diversity across job grades and functions delivers benefits to firms, society and the wider economy.” 

Concerns over Treasury Diversity

In another recent development, the Treasury Committee has published a report into the latest senior Treasury appointments - Sir Dave Ramsden as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Professor Silvana Tenreyro as an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

While acknowledging that the appointments meet the requirements of personal independence and professional competence, the Committee has expressed concern about the composition of the policy committees, and in particular about diversity at the most senior levels in the Bank of England.  Following her recent appointment, Ms Tenreyo is currently the only woman on the MPC.

Nicky Morgan has written to the Chancellor Philip Hammond, to express these concerns.

"The Treasury must make all efforts to encourage as diverse range of candidates for the Bank’s policy committees as possible,” commented Mrs Morgan. “An aim of the Commissioner for Public Appointments is to achieve greater diversity of public appointments. The Committee has asked the Treasury for its specific confirmation that its recruitment processes are within this remit.” 

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Contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.0.

Improving Workplace Equality
Achieving Global Gender Equality

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