FCA discusses diversity issues at Women in Finance Summit

The FCA has expressed its desire to encourage diversity in the workplace among financial companies.

Speaking at the Women in Finance Summit, Megan Butler, executive director of supervision for investment, wholesale and specialist at the FCA, explained how the regulator was aiming to tackle issues such as the gender pay gap and diversity at senior management levels in financial services.

Megan’s speech comes after the FCA published a discussion paper on transforming culture in financial services as it looks to promote a discussion and consensus on the essential features of a healthy culture within the industry.

“Prominent in this conversation is the pursuit of diversity in the workplace.

“A culture that pursues diversity is one that will have wider benefits for an organisation.

“A culture that is open minded, tolerant, considerate and, importantly, aspiring to improve.”

Megan highlighted the Senior Managers and Certification Regime, which she believed was transforming the culture of accountability across financial services.

“We see this as a step change: placing an onus on individuals to take responsibility for their actions and ensuring that those individuals are fit and proper to perform their role.  

“In real terms, this means that our supervision teams will continue to impress on senior management the importance of diversity in their teams.”

With regards to the gender pay gap in financial services, Megan said that the UK’s average gender pay gap was 18.1%, but in finance it was 37.4%.

“The gender pay gap is also striking.

“Some banks have reported gender disparities of around 50% for wages and 80% for bonuses.

“Others are now releasing equally bad or indeed worse data.

“It will make difficult reading for a number of firms.”

Megan said the FCA would continue to keep the pressure on for progress.

This meant  supervisors may ask directly about gender diversity policies, including:

  • are you recruiting an even split of female and male graduates? 
  • are those female graduates rising through the ranks in equal numbers? And if not, do you understand why? 
  • does equal pay and the pay gap get attention in your firm?
  • can your business do more to promote environments that appeal to women and give them confidence?

“The industry should be clear that the current pace of change on gender diversity must not just be a flash in the pan, but must be maintained.  

“On current trends, financial services globally will not reach 50% female executive committee representation until around 2107.

“We will challenge on the steps being taken to achieve change, because ultimately, embracing the value of diversity benefits everyone.

“And on a purely personal level, what I would genuinely love is that when I walk into a meeting with senior industry representatives, I am not the only woman in the room.”

Leave a comment