Women in Financial Services 2014

From Evolution to Revolution: The Time is Now

There have long been concerns about the lack of women at the senior levels in financial services. Many have suggested that the excessive risk taking and mistreatment of customers in the pre-2007 boom were caused by the overwhelming masculinity of the industry.

That’s not the whole story, of course.  The crisis had many causes. And a lack of diversity has many consequences. But regardless, it remains clear that the sector is losing out in the ‘war for talent’.

In this report, we analyzed the gender mix of senior staff at over 150 firms internationally and surveyed over 1,000 current and potential financial services employees from five countries. We have interviewed many senior women (and a few men!) from across the sector.

We have been surprised by some of the results, and our conviction that financial firms, and we, must do more to support women has only increased.

Watch our video

Nick Studer, Managing Partner, Financial Services and Michelle Daisley, Partner and Lead Author of Women in Financial Services, discuss the key findings from the report.

Women in Financial Services 2014


Women in Financial Services infographics

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Risk Culture: No Silver Bullet

More women on the trading floor is not the answer for improving risk culture


Women on the Board: Token or Totem?

Women in Financial Services 2014

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Picking the Right Battle

Lessons from the Gender Debate in Motor Insurance


Spotlight on Canada

A Web of Support for Gender Diversity

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Interviewee Quotes

Veronica Augustsson
We're not taking advantage of all available talent. This is a huge drawback for the sector
Veronica Augustsson CEO Cinnober
Marijo Bos
There is too much focus on trying to make females want to become leaders and too little focus on making structural changes and assessing the culture
Marijo Bos MD Bos Advisors and Global President, PWN
Shauneen Bruder
Our growth is predicated on understanding diverse markets. Diversity is not just the right thing to do from a values perspective, it’s also good business. It helps us to understand those segments of the population…anticipate their needs and better deliver to them
Shauneen Bruder Executive Vice President, Operations, Personal & Commercial Banking Royal Bank of Canada
Colleen Campbell
Gender diversity issues will not be solved by only women. Men need to be (and want to be) brought into the conversation and given the same opportunities
Colleen Campbell Vice Chair Bank of Montreal
Helen Crofts
Boosting awareness and participation at the top end would ideally have a knock on effect through the executive and management levels, but unfortunately we don't see much evidence of this at the moment.
Helen Crofts Chair The Women's-Insurance-Net-Work
Angela Darlington
Female mentors do appear to have a larger number of people to mentor than the average senior man. It becomes a numbers game as female mentors are so few but it is also a great opportunity to make a real difference to our talent pipeline.
Angela Darlington CRO Aviva Life UK
Jane Fraser
If you had more diversity then you might have taken control of some of the more extreme views in a better way. But it is the diversity which is key, not just adding women
Jane Fraser CEO, U.S. Consumer and Commercial Banking and CitiMortgage Citi
Dame Clara Furse
Senior women in industry often gain a lot of media attention [more than equivalent men], not all of which is welcome or productive, and this can be distracting
Dame Clara Furse Board member, Nomura Holdings Member the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee and former CEO of the LSE
Laurence Hainault
Until women achieve critical mass at leadership level, things will not truly change
Laurence Hainault Managing Director, Head of TMT France, Investment Banking Credit Suisse
Charlotte Hogg
Decisions are better when people who have multiple experiences and points of view come together, because no one person, however intelligent they are, will have the answer
Charlotte Hogg Chief Operating Officer, Bank of England
Sue Kean
I think it is not a gender issue per se but due to the unconscious bias, we tend to be more comfortable mentoring and providing feedback to those who are like us, as opposed to actively going out looking for people with different skillsets
Sue Kean Group Risk Officer, Old Mutual
Jenny Knott
Women are far more trusting of their own decisions and intuition, therefore are not afraid of calculated risk taking
Jenny Knott Strategic Advisor to Group CEOs, Standard Bank Plc
Sir Andrew Large
The suitability criteria might not be right. It’s about broadening our horizons when looking at candidates
Sir Andrew Large Former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England Founding Partner of Systemic Policy Partnership
Seraina Maag
I think technology will play a key part in the future workplace. Firms will need to figure out how to leverage technology to foster strong engagement and provide flexibility – in particular for women.
Seraina Maag President and CEO of EMEA region, AIG
Linda Mantia
If we really want to build leaders of the future, they better be in those roles that we think are going to be differentiators for the future success in the institutions
Linda Mantia Executive Vice President, Digital, Payments & Cards, Royal Bank of Canada
Anna Marrs
Post the financial crisis, shareholders are looking for a different culture in financial services. Part of that cultural transformation will require a different model of leadership
Anna Marrs Group Head of Commercial and Private Banking Clients, Standard Chartered
Alison Martin
'Own the way you work' is a flexibility initiative not focused on gender but on the individual's need for flexibility, e.g. employees can pick up kids from school, work from home … The result of the new flexible working conditions can have a significant increase in productivity and quality
Alison Martin Head of Life & Health Business Management, Swiss Re
Helena Morrissey
In financial services, to make a change we have to play the numbers game
Helena Morrissey CEO, Newton Asset Management Founder of the 30% Club
Sarah Pierce
If I take three years out of work and return three years behind an equally able peer who stayed for those three years, I can accept that as fair. But if I was to take three years off and return five years behind an equally able peer or with limited career progression, I doubt I would accept that
Sarah Pierce 2013 Winner of "Woman of the Future: Professional", Investment Director, Praesidian Capital
Cecilia Reyes
By having this flexibility we're able to retain and attract a diverse workforce. Some are skeptical; this is a cultural and mind set change. We need to improve the skills of managers to work with employees who are not necessarily physically in the office all the time
Cecilia Reyes CIO, Zurich Insurance
Jennifer Reynolds
One of the most important things we can do is to help women see that there is an on-ramp back into the industry and support them when they take it. Bringing experienced women back to the industry is critical to building a pipeline for leadership roles
Jennifer Reynolds President & CEO, Women in Capital Markets
Christiana Riley
Financial services tends to be a very meritocratic industry because performance is transparent. This allows performers, irrespective of gender, to advance and that should be seen as a positive
Christiana Riley Head of Corporate Strategy, Group Strategy (AfK), Deutsche Bank
Helen Rose
When you're the only woman in the room, you feel like you're representing womankind
Helen Rose COO, TSB
Chris Sullivan
It's the classic example of men doing business down at the pub. Men meet with their suppliers, colleagues and business groups in certain places and times that are not always convenient for women. It's perfect for them since they've designed it for themselves but women get excluded
Chris Sullivan Deputy Group Chief Executive, RBS
Frédéric Visnovsky
We have formalised the different options/stages of career paths, clearly stating the fact-based criteria for promotion. Hence, there is reduced subjectivity when assessing the performance of an individual
Frédéric Visnovsky Deputy Secretary General, ACPR (French Banking Regulator)
Karen Wilson
Women in senior roles who take leave for maternity or other family care can cause resentment amongst peers. It's not easy to fill leadership roles in the interim and people have to work hard to cover for them. If both women and men were doing this then it would become a 'parent / carer thing' rather than a 'gender thing'
Karen Wilson CEO, Hoggett Bowers
Barbara Yastine
There is a lot of testosterone in Wall Street firms and this has had a spill over effect to other financial sector firms
Barbara Yastine CEO, Ally Bank
Jennifer Barrow
We’ve created a robust recruitment framework that mitigates against unconscious bias creeping into recruitment and promotion decisions. Unconscious Bias training is mandatory at the FCA and we must map out the competencies required for job roles and use standardized questions at interview stage
Jennifer Barrow Head of Corporate Responsibility, UK Financial Conduct Authority
Ekaterina Petelina
I have not encountered the sexual prejudice in the finance industry that I had experienced in the metals and mining industry, where I worked as a young consultant
Ekaterina Petelina Deputy President and Chairman of the Management Board, VTB24
Jennifer Tory
When we don’t have to talk about it [gender diversity], the battle has been won
Jennifer Tory Group Head, Personal & Commercial Banking, Royal Bank of Canada
Bella Zlatkis
If a woman is willing to build her careers, she can do it, there is no glass ceiling in Russia
Bella Zlatkis Deputy Chairman, Sberbank