FCA and UK banks boost gender targets

The City regulator and banks including HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group are aiming to boost female representation in senior roles as part of the government’s Women in Finance Charter.

Of the 72 companies that signed the charter in June, 60 have now committed to having at least 30% of women in senior positions by 2021 – includes 15 banks and 13 insurers, according to a statement from the Treasury.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Too few women get to the top and many don’t progress as quickly as they should or they leave the sector completely. So it is good news that so many firms have signed the Women in Finance Charter and are now dedicating themselves to tackling gender inequality. ”

Financial services is the UK’s highest paid sector but has the widest gender pay gap, at 39.5%, compared to 19.2% across the wider economy.

For every pound earned by a man in financial services, a woman earns just over 60p, according to the government.

The FCA, Virgin Money and Legal & General are among 13 organisations aiming for complete gender parity in senior roles over the next 10 years.

The FCA’s targets are that 45% of its senior leadership team will identify as female by 2020, and 50% by 2025; and that 8% of its senior leadership team will identify as black, Asian or minority ethnic by 2020, and 13% by 2025.

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, said: “Every day we make judgements and decisions that impact almost everyone in the UK so it’s vital that our people reflect the society that we serve. Encouraging diverse attitudes and opinions in our daily work makes us a stronger and more effective regulator.”

As part of the Charter, firms also agreed to make an individual executive responsible for its financial targets. So far, just 20 companies have named their CEO as the senior executive accountable.

• This article also appeared on WSJ City, a made-for-mobile app that combines the best of the Wall Street Journal and Financial News, tailored for an audience in the City of London. Download here

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