HM Treasury has launched the ‘Women in Finance’ Charter asking financial services firms to commit to key industry actions. The initiative is the Treasury’s response to the review led by Jayne-Anne Gadhia of Virgin Money into the representation of women in senior managerial roles in the UK’s financial services industry.
Key features of the proposed Charter include:
- The Charter is voluntary and applies to all financial services firms as defined by the FCA and all firms that are headquartered overseas but with significant operations in the UK;
- Participating firms will be expected to set out their approach to each of three overarching recommendations: reporting, executive accountability and remuneration;
- Financial services firms should set their own internal targets, against which they publicly report progress. The report encourages firms to publish metrics on gender balances at all levels of the organisation (in individual business units as well as by broad job functions);
- Financial services firms should explicitly tie executive bonuses to achieving the internal targets which firms have set for themselves. It will be up to the company to determine how this should be done. The report notes that remuneration structures and links with variable pay can be an effective tool to change behaviours, but the mechanism for doing so is left to individual firms to work out.
- Financial services firms will report annually on progress against their targets which would be set annually or up to a three year basis;
- There are no sanctions for non-participation.
The report also outlines ten positive actions that can be taken to improve inclusion in the workplace, including investing in supportive people managers; providing technology to support flexible working; implementing good flexible working policies, and ensuring pay structures are transparent;
Virgin Money has committed to sign the Charter, together with Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Columbia Threadneedle and Capital Credit Union. The Treasury will publish a list of firms who have signed up to the Charter after three months.
You can read the Gadhia report here.