18 July 2016

Financial Services: Time for Change Panel Discussion

In June 2016, Mishcon de Reya hosted a panel discussion on Financial Services: Time for Change.

Since the event, the signatories to the Women in Finance Charter to-date have been announced. The Charter sets out commitments based on the recommendations in Jayne-Anne Gadhia's Review. 

There are already 72 signatories to the Charter, representing half a million staff; this is approximately half of all staff across the breadth of the financial services sector. This level of engagement is encouraging and suggests that the time for change may indeed have come.


Financial Services:  Time for Change Panel Discussion

Mishcon de Reya

Financial Services:  Time for Change

Sarah Pennells

I think it’s really important that the whole financial services sector looks at the issue of getting more women into senior roles.  It’s something that’s been on the agenda really for quite some time and now at last it seems we are being taken seriously with the report from Jane Engardia and the Government getting behind it with the Treasury Charter.  There is still some areas of financial services where woman are woefully under represented and asset management is an obvious example.  Only 7% of fund managers are female and I think this isn’t just about having different voices and having a diverse board or diverse members at a senior level, it’s also about your customers recognising who you are, not just in terms of people they deal with every day maybe, but in terms of people who lead those organisations and make the important decisions and that’s why I think this whole area is so important.

Gina Miller
Founder, SCM

Diversity is important for financial services as it is any other sector because it adds to the bottom line, it increases the cultural meshing of an organisation, but very, very importantly the coming together of different mind sets actually creates better solutions.

Janet Platt CBE
Chief Executive, NS & I

I was really keen to join tonight’s panel discussion because it’s talking about something which I feel very strongly about which is why it should be that women in financial services should represent such a small number at the very top.  So it’s important to understand what the metrics really are in each section of financial services, where are women making headway and where aren’t they making headway, why is that.

Greg Campbell
Partner, Mishcon de Reya

The financial services industry has long had a poor reputation for gender diversity.  The Davis report has had a huge impact and the pressure across all industries has been to increase female representation.

Steven Cooper
CEO, Personal Banking, Barclays

For gender diversity at a senior level we’ve introduced actually you must have a gender balanced shortlist.  So that means 50/50 male and female and all who must bench for the skill set required for the role.

Samantha Kakati
Managing Associate, Mishcon de Reya

So one of the key things that we wanted to do to make this an inclusive discussion is to have a real range of panellists both in terms of sector, background and their views on things and I think what we ended up with is a really strong panel of people who are really passionate.  What we want is to have a real impact, not just a safe space to have a discussion, but actually talk about what we can do.

Mishcon de Reya