The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published research which shows that the proportion of women in senior roles within financial services has remained largely unchanged since 2005. At present, women make up just 17% of those registered as approved persons, although this figure is slightly higher, at 23%, in larger firms.

Women also comprise just 5% of those carrying out adviser roles and other customer-facing functions, based on the list of approved persons on the Financial Services Register. Here the report says:

“Despite the scrutiny and public commitments to evolve, financial services have seen little if any improvement in gender diversity.

“In addition, there is evidence to suggest that women in senior positions at UK financial firms tend to represent support functions, rather than profit-generating ones.”

The average investment management firm has women making up 26% of its senior management, which was the highest for any of the 14 categories of firm used in the survey. At institutional brokerages and smaller investment banks women typically comprise little more than 5% of the total number of senior managers.

At larger firms who were included in the study, the proportion of female senior managers ranged from less than 5% to more than 40%.

330 firms have now signed up to the Women in Finance Charter. This was launched in 2015 in response to the fact that women made up just 14% of executive committee members within the financial services industry. By signing up to the Charter, a firm is making four pledges:

  • Appointing a member of the senior executive team as being responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion
  • Setting internal targets for gender diversity in its senior management team
  • Publishing progress annually against these targets in reports which will be posted on the firm’s website
  • Linking the remuneration received by the senior executive team to whether the firm can deliver against these internal targets on gender diversity

At the recent Annual Summit of trade association The Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA), Holly Mackay, Founder and CEO of financial guidance website Boring Money, spoke about the benefits of firms embracing diversity, by saying:

“The industry is stuck and thinks about things in certain ways because Boards and firms often look the same and come from very similar backgrounds – it can feel like a club that not everyone is invited to join”.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article