John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, spoke to the City & Financial Global Women in Finance Summit on July 8 about the drive to get more women into senior positions within financial services firms.

Mr Glen began by saying we were “in the middle of a period of real change for financial services” and clarified this by adding that “the make-up of the sector itself is changing… becoming more open and diverse”.

The Minister suggested this could deliver significant benefits, commenting:

“Greater diversity of background means greater diversity of outlook and expertise. And there’s no business or sector on the planet that doesn’t benefit from those.”

The Women in Finance Charter was launched in response to data in 2016 which revealed that women filled just 14% of executive roles within financial services.

Organisations that sign up to the Charter are committing to:

  • Appointing a member of the senior executive team with specific responsibility for diversity and inclusion issues
  • Setting targets for gender diversity amongst senior management
  • Publishing their progress towards these targets on an annual basis
  • Linking the remuneration of the firm’s executive to achievement of these targets

More than 400 firms have signed the Charter so far, and Mr Glen said that, of the 209 who signed up prior to September 2019, 62% have either increased or maintained the proportion of women on their managerial team. 71% of these firms have already met their targets or are on course to do so.

The Minister praised firms who are developing leadership programmes to ensure women are ready for senior roles.

His speech comes shortly after the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Bank of England launched a joint discussion paper, inviting views on how diversity and inclusion within financial services can be improved.