In the news: Is gender diversity in financial services on the rise?

New appointments in financial services reflect an increase of women in the workplace
by Bethan Rees

Stacey Cunningham is the new president of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) – the first female president in its 226-year history. She has taken the opportunity to point out the gender gap in finance and technology, reports Kellie Ell for CNBC. 

Ell writes: “Even with Cunningham set to run the show, few women can be found on the floor of the exchange – or on Wall Street for that matter.” Ell shares statistics from Catalyst, “a non-profit that works to promote inclusive workplaces for women”, including that women hold just 4.6% of CEO positions in S&P 500 companies. 

Although Cunningham has worked her way up at the NYSE, starting as an intern in 1994, she said to CNBC’s Squawk on the Street show: “It’s a male-dominated environment … and that hasn't changed quite as rapidly as some other industries have changed."

Ell also reports that Janice Ellig, CEO of executive search firm Ellig Group, points to the slow pace of change, describing it as “glacial”, and uses statistics from Catalyst to illustrate her point. Ellig states that in 1995, when Catalyst started tracking women on corporate boards, women accounted for 9%, and today it’s almost 21%. “That's less than 1% a year over a 20-year period,“ Ellig said on CNBC’s Power Lunch show on 22 May. 

CNBC article 

Theresa May supports diversity in financial services 
However, on the other side of the pond, British Prime Minister Theresa May fully endorses an initiative created to raise funds for schemes to widen access to careers in the savings and investment sectors, called Diverse City, London Loves Business reports. 

Theresa May is “delighted to support the ‘Diverse City’ initiative”. She says: “It is a wonderful way to showcase the tangible support from the financial sector towards a diverse workforce across the entire UK. This is exactly the kind of partnership between business and communities everyone wants to see and I am very keen we support this work.”

Diverse City hosted its first gala dinner at the RHS Chelsea Flower show on 21 May, and speakers included Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP and Dame Helena Morrissey DBE, chair of the Diversity Project, which supports accelerating progress towards an inclusive culture in the investment profession. 

The funds raised from the dinner will assist charities, including the Social Mobility Foundation, an organisation that supports high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds into the top universities and professions, to assist in creating greater access across the savings and investment sectors.

London Loves Business article

CISI appoints Liverpool president committed to driving change
The CISI has recently announced the appointment of Louise McEveley, Chartered MCSI, as president of its Liverpool branch, writes Lora Benson on the CISI website.  

McEveley takes over the role from outgoing president James Charlton, Chartered FCSI, who describes her as “an excellent role model, not least for aspiring young women".

McEveley said: “I am honoured to be taking up this role and continuing the legacy built up by James. Under his guidance, the Liverpool branch has become a pioneer committee for its work with local schools, colleges and firms.  

“We are committed to driving a collaborative approach in our initiatives to ensure a more accurate representation of the local community in Liverpool’s financial services profession.” 

McEveley has four years’ experience on the CISI Liverpool branch committee and more than 13 years’ experience in the financial services profession. She is also the vice president at the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation’s Pershing Limited, which is based in Liverpool, and has worked there since 2005.  

These appointments, and Theresa May’s support for such issues, are encouraging signs that gender diversity is rising higher on the agenda for the financial services sector. Although, as the president of the NYSE points out, there are still discrepancies across the sector, which has been slower on the uptake than other sectors. 

CISI article 

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Published: 25 May 2018
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