MPs take aim at City banking giants over gender diversity
Companies have until Friday to confirm that they plan to join the initiative, or give reasons why not.
Major banks including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have been called out by an influential parliamentary committee for failing to sign the Women in Finance Charter and pledging to promote gender diversity across their businesses.
Conservative MP and head of the influential Treasury Select Committee Nicky Morgan has written to 33 financial services firms, including BNP Paribas, PIMCO and UBS, who have yet to become signatories.
She has given companies until Friday to confirm that they plan to join the initiative, or give details of why they have decided not to do so.
“The progress of the Women in Finance Charter is to be welcomed. The aim, however, must be to see all firms in the financial sector sign up to the charter and make a concerted effort to improve their gender diversity, particularly in senior roles,” said Mrs Morgan.
“As the charter states, a balanced workforce is good for customers, profitability and workplace culture.
“Huge multi-nationals including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and UBS are yet to sign up to the charter, and if they don’t intend to do so, the Treasury Committee wants them to explain why.”
Committee members – who are due to meet on February 20 – could agree to publicly publish bank responses as early as next week.
A spokeswoman for JP Morgan said the bank supports the goals of the charter and is “considering signing up”.
UBS said it supports the Charter in principle and has “undertaken wide-ranging steps to ensure higher gender equality” across the business.
“For global firms, any charter focused on one country brings limitations and adds complexity,” a spokeswoman said.
“Nevertheless, we are considering signing the UK Charter and remain extremely committed to supporting gender equality.”
Mrs Morgan’s letter was also sent to the likes of Close Brothers, AIG Europe, Metro Bank, Vanguard Asset Management and Seedrs.
More than 160 companies had signed up to the charter as of November, representing more than 600,000 employees in the financial services industry.
That means around 50% of the industry’s workforce is currently covered by the charter – accounting for pledges from firms including Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley International and Deutsche Bank.
The Women in Finance Charter was first published in March 2016 and commits firms to supporting the progression of women into senior roles, to publicly report on progress on delivering internal diversity targets, and have at least one member of the executive team responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion.